Bustos Fights to Protect Small Airports, Rural Infrastructure at FAA Reauthorization Hearing

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) questioned Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao about the Trump Administration’s plan to fundamentally upend the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As a member of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation, she specifically zeroed in on how President Trump’s plan to privatize the U.S. Air Traffic Control System could have dire consequences for aviation safety, small airports and rural communities.

At the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, Congresswoman Bustos pressed Secretary Chao on what kind of protections small towns and workers would have under a new system.

“Investing in our transportation infrastructure creates good-paying jobs in our communities, and I’ll continue working across the aisle to bring home results for the hardworking families I serve,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “However, President Trump’s plan to privatize Air Traffic Control could compromise safety and hurt small and rural airports like those in Northwest and Central Illinois. After speaking with Secretary Chao today, I’m concerned that the Trump Administration’s plan does not include the necessary provisions to ensure that small and rural airports have the resources they need to succeed, grow and remain competitive. I’ll work with Secretary Chao to find solutions for the airports in our region, and hold the Trump Administration accountable for their promises to rural America. Instead of tilting the scales toward large, urban airports, I hope Secretary Chao and President Trump will work with Congress on a bipartisan plan that invests in our community airports and puts passengers first.”

In addition, President Trump’s plan would:

  • Jeopardize aviation safety by splitting the Federal Aviation Administration into two and leaving passenger safety to a private corporation more concerned with bottom-line profits.
  • Allow a private corporation to tax airline passengers, which many experts believe to be unconstitutional. It would also remove significant Congressional oversight over the new corporation and give passengers little recourse to challenge unfair charges.
  • Increase the federal budget deficit by $46 billion.