Regulation

Recently at Reason.tv: Your Flight Has Been Delayed…And It's Washington's Fault!

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As the holiday travel rush approaches, air travelers grounded by delays should take a moment to think about why they're stuck in airports or on the tarmac. There's a good chance Washington is to blame.

"The air traffic control system in the United States is technologically obsolete," says Robert W. Poole, Jr., director of transportation studies at Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason.tv. "This model is basically the same model that we have used since the beginning of air travel."

The technology the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses to navigate $200 million jets is less advanced than the GPS technology drivers use to navigate $20,000 cars.

Poole says the system could safely handle more planes if the FAA used modern technology that would provide real-time information about where planes are. But the funding process, overseen by pork-hungry members of Congress, often thwarts technology upgrades.

The only way to get the politics out of our air traffic system is to take the system away from the politicians. Why not let a private corporation manage the skies?

That may sound like a far-out, free-market idea, but Canada doesn't think so.

Our neighbors to the north often take pride in their lavish government programs, yet they allow a private corporation called Nav Canada to manage their air-traffic control system. Canada's approach, often called commercialization, has some surprising supporters in the U.S., including Al Gore, who pushed for commercialization when he was Bill Clinton's vice president.

"Your Flight Has Been Delayed" is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Director of Photography: Alex Manning; Field Producers: Paul Detrick and Hawk Jensen. The host is Nick Gillespie.

Approximately 7.28 minutes. For downloadable versions of this video, go to Reason.tv. And subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel now.

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  1. Bush and the Republican Congress never approached this subject when they had the chance.

  2. Thats what Washington does best. Stick its big nose where it doesnt belong! Some things just never change.

    RT
    http://www.be-anonymous.cz.tc

  3. Robert W. Poole, Jr., director of transportation studies at Reason Foundation

    How can I get a bullshit job like Robert has?

  4. IHOP – be a millionaire, and start your own foundation.

  5. Canada’s approach, often called commercialization, has some surprising supporters in the U.S., including Al Gore, who pushed for commercialization when he was Bill Clinton’s vice president.

    That’s surprising. It reminds me of when I read one of JK Galbreath’s last books, and he actually admitted that free(r) trade was a good thing, if only because it lessened the chances of war when people were getting rich trading with other countries.

    And it only took him about 60 years to figure that out.

  6. As a pilot, I would be open to privatization of Air Traffic Control on the condition that we end the fuel excise tax that we currently pay to fund the government’s ATC system.

    Pay the fuel tax *plus* a user fee? Gonna have to go with “no” on that one.

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