Despite doubling down on his “watered down” travel ban while criticizing London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Donald Trump initiated his administration’s long-promised overhaul of the country’s infrastructure on Monday. The ambitious plan, which the Trump campaign frequently boasted about during the 2016 presidential election, includes several proposed managers designed to replace outdated, oftentimes dilapidated aspects of the country’s roadways. Yet it also hopes to revitalize the skies, which Trump suggests can and will happen once the U.S. air traffic control system is removed from government control and privatized.
“We live in a modern age, but our air traffic control system is stuck, painfully, in the past,” Trump said at a function attended by the media and members of the Department of Transportation, including Secretary Elaine Chao. “At a time when every passenger has GPS technology in their pockets, our air traffic control system still runs on radar and ground-based radio systems that they don’t even make anymore. Many controllers must use slips of paper to track our thousands and thousands of flights.”
There’s no guarantee privatization would cure all the major ills currently suffered by the American airline industry, including customer service horror stories recently reported by United, Delta and JetBlue passengers. Such was the counterargument made by Democrats at a congressional hearing in May. However, as CNN notes, Federal Aviation Administration plans to implement GPS won’t be completed until 2020. What’s more, Canada and other nations whose governments are more often “liberal” in nature have already privatized their air traffic control systems, which Republicans in the U.S. have long advocated for.
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