Regardless of your political affiliation, I think we can all agree on a couple of things:
1) Washington needs to cut wasteful spending;
2) Thoughtlessly gutting our nation’s transportation infrastructure (e.g. sequester) is NOT a good way to cut wasteful spending.
As a worker in healthcare, I see a lot of great ways to cut wasteful spending. Our healthcare system is a shameful disaster, a house of cards that is supported by bizarre monetary incentives to spend more and treat less. But this blog is not about healthcare, it is about aviation. And sequestration has potential to adversely affect our aviation infrastructure in a big way.
With that in mind, I am writing to my congresspersons, and I encourage you to do the same!
Here is where you can find out who represents you. You can find the address of your senator here and your representative here. What follows is the text of my own letter. Feel free to use parts of it to write to your own congressman and support our air traffic controllers and our aviation infrastructure. Trimming the pork is a good thing; blindly gutting our transportation system with ham-fisted spending cuts is not.
Dear Representative Duckworth/Senator Durbin:
I am a registered voter in your district. I wish to register my displeasure with the sequester and its effect on the FAA and our nations air traffic control system.
Air traffic controllers are essential to the safety and security of America. Controllers keep airplanes on course and ensure that no two airplanes ever collide. They watch our borders and coordinate with our military to keep the skies safe. They protect airspace around VIP flights and watch over our skies. They keep the traveling and ground-bound public safe.
It is extremely disappointing to me that air traffic controllers have been adversely effected by the sequester. Mandatory furlough days have reduced staff to bare-bones levels. Delays in the airspace system caused by sequester will have a negative effect on our already fragile economy and will be incredibly irksome to travelers across the nation and the world. Trimming wasteful spending is an admirable goal, but destroying our infrastructure with thoughtless budget cuts due to congressional gridlock is not good for America.
In addition to furlough days, sequester has caused the FAA to restrict hiring. I am a pending graduate of the Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Initiative program at Lewis University. I am well-qualified to work as an air traffic controller, but FAA is on a hiring freeze due to the sequester. After the current class of controller trainees graduates from training there are no more classes scheduled. Many controllers are approaching mandatory retirement. When they leave, there will be nobody to replace them. This is lunacy.
I implore you, please do not allow Congressional gridlock to gut the national treasure that is our airspace system.
I, and countless other pilots, controllers, and aviation students are carefully watching to see how you handle this. Please make us proud: support the FAA, and exempt controllers from the harmful effects of the sequester.
Thank you for your time,
Elected officials respond to interested voters. Call, write, contact your representative. Congress’ failure to govern is going to harm aviation. Only if we pilots and controllers contact our representatives will they know that we are watching, and that we are unhappy.
Maybe it won’t make a difference, but damn it, I have to do something. Join me. Write your rep today!