OBERLIN - The U.S. air traffic control system is in line for a major overhaul. President Trump today announced plans to take the system out of the government's hands and make it private.
Opponents are already weighing in and one question is on the minds of many: What could it mean to Northeast Ohio?
Cleveland's Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in Oberlin, is the third busiest in the nation. It oversees the airspace over parts of six states, including Ohio, plus southern Ontario.
But according to the president, "We live in a modern age, yet our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past."
The Trump Administration wants Congress to vote on legislation that would move all air traffic control to a private, non-profit agency that could control its own budges and equipment purchases. Trump says the current system isn't working.
"After billions and billions of tax dollars spent and the many years of delays we're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system that doesn't work. Other than that it's quite good," he said at a White House ceremony on Monday.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union that represents those working in Oberlin, agrees the system needs to be modernized, but still wants to see the specifics of the proposal and make sure it protects the rights and benefits of controllers. They will oppose any for-profit model.
Airlines in the U.S. have campaigned to separate the FAA. and ATC for two decades , but the proposal still has to pass muster with Democrats. Plus the concern that privatization may mean less jobs and hurt rural areas.
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