he battle lines have been drawn. The airlines want to privatize air traffic control, while general aviation interests remain steadfastly opposed. Linked with the plan to sever ATC from the FAA come real concerns about whether supporters are avoiding the most pertinent questions, such as how privatizing ATC will solve modernization issues, or whether Congress will actually have oversight of the new corporatized entity. Unmatched anywhere in the world for safely separating more aircraft in a month than some countries might in a year is the U.S. air traffic control system. The FAA has ably operated the ATC system for 80 years, but some in Congress want to spin it off into a private, not-for-profit corporation. Supporters believe this will be the year that could finally see privatization succeed thanks to support from a Republican Congress and the White House. The FAA’s weaknesses running the ATC system certainly are well-documented, and the agency’s failure to bring NextGen fully to fruition despite years of effort and billions in additional funding has been the subject of much criticism. In an ATC reform plan presented last year by Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, the congressman argued that surgically separating air traffic control from its parent agency represents a critical first step toward ensuring a stable funding stream for ATC. His plan calls for user fees to finance the new organization and a board of directors to oversee operations. While not specifically endorsing separation, Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel’s testimony before the Transportation Committee on ATC reform in May took the FAA to task for years of project mismanagement, while balancing the discussion with a few of the agency’s noteworthy successes along the way.