New group forms seeking to modernize air traffic control

ST. LOUIS – A new group is seeking to push for reform and modernization to the nation’s air traffic control systems.

On Wednesday, a group of lawmakers and government, transportation, and local leaders announced the formation of “Missouri Citizens for On Time Flights”, a group supported byover 5,500 Missourians who have signed petitions in support of the air traffic control modernization. Their goal is to encourage Congress to take a look at modernizing the system, which they say is in much need of reform.

“Our air traffic control system is at a breaking point and it is directly responsible for nearly 50 percent of all flight delays in the United States,” coalition Co-chair and Missouri Senate Transportation Chair Dave Schatz said. “I am proud to support President Trump’s effort to modernize our air traffic control system to allow more efficient routing and more opportunities for airlines to serve Missouri’s rural communities.”

“Our air traffic control system is a critical part of our nation’s economy yet it is still operating with paper strips and the same ground-based system that is has used since World War II,” House Majority Leader Mike Cierpiot, the former Chairman of the Transportation Funding and Public Institutions Committee and Co-Chair of Missouri Citizens for On Time Flight, said. “It is time to modernize our system by moving it away from the federal bureaucracy and into an independent, not-for-profit corporation to help bring the system into the twenty-first century.”

“Our cell phones and cars are operating with better technology than that of America’s air traffic. It is time for Congress to get to work to pass this much-needed reform to fix our antiquated air traffic control system,” State Rep. Kevin Corlew said, who also serves as Chair of the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force.

The coalition is also joined by local Mayors Ron Blum of St. Clair, Adam Couch of Odessa and Adam Paul of Ellisville.

Earlier this month, 60 Missouri lawmakers signed a letter of support for air traffic control modernization, which was delivered to Missouri’s Congressional delegation.

Missouri Citizens for On Time Flights is a chapter of Citizens for On Time Flights, a nationwide effort which launched in May and has generated over 200,000 emails to Members of Congress so far. It joins 10 other states as part of a nationwide grassroots campaign mobilizing passengers, advocates, and businesses who are unhappy or fed up with flight delays and cancellations.

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This story originally appeared on The Missouri Times.

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