Trump’s Corporate Infrastructure Giveaway Begins with Air Traffic Control

Casey Quinlan

Casey Quinlan Policy Reporter, Think Progress

President Donald Trump announced the first part of his infrastructure plan on Monday, which would privatize the air control system. This week he plans to roll out the rest of his infrastructure agenda, which he said would invest $1 trillion in infrastructure.

The administration has released very few details about how it plans to invest in waterways and roads, and all of Trump’s policy statements have been removed from his campaign website. But if his air traffic control announcement is any indication of where the rest of his infrastructure plan is headed, it will be a massive giveaway to corporations and a departure from past infrastructure programs.

President Donald Trump hailed the plan on Monday and claimed it would be a “huge economic boost” for the country, without explaining how that would be the case. Under his plan, air traffic control would be turned over to a non-profit entity that would initially rely on loans.

“Under this new plan, the Federal Aviation Administration will focus firmly on what it does best: safety,” said Trump. “A separate nonprofit entity would be in charge of route to efficiency, timely service and a long-awaited reduction in delays.”

Trump then signed a list of air traffic control principles, in a sort of pantomime of a bill signing.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Freight can’t wait

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

A freight train hauling lumber and nylon manufacturing chemicals derailed, caught fire and caused a 108-year-old bridge to collapse in Tempe, Ariz., this week, in the second accident on the same bridge within a month.

The bridge was damaged after the first incident, according to Union Pacific railroad that owns the rail bridge, and re-opened two days later. 

The official cause of the derailments is still under investigation, but it remains clear that the failure to modernize and maintain America’s railroad infrastructure is dangerous. 

In 2019, 499 trains that derailed were found to have defective or broken track, roadbed or structures, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s database of safety analysis.

While railroad workers’ unions have called for increased safety improvements, rail companies have also used technology and automation as an excuse to downsize their work forces.

For example, rail companies have implemented a cost-saving measure known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has resulted in mass layoffs and shoddy safety protocols. 

Though privately-owned railroads have spent significantly to upgrade large, Class I trains, regional Class II trains and local, short-line Class III trains that carry important goods for farmers and businesses still rely on state and local funds for improvements. 

But cash-strapped states struggle to adequately inspect new technologies and fund safety improvements, and repairing or replacing the aging track and rail bridges will require significant public investment.

A true infrastructure commitment will not only strengthen the country’s railroad networks and increase U.S. global economic competitiveness. It will also create millions of family-sustaining jobs needed to inspect, repair and manufacture new parts for mass transit systems, all while helping to prevent future disasters.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work