Wendell Ford’s Edsel: Many of FAA’s NextGen Dirty Tricks were Also Used in the 1990 Passage of ANCA

Here’s an interesting opinion piece done twenty-four years ago, after passage of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (also known as ‘ANCA’). It offers lots of valuable insight into how airport impact legislation ends up primarily serving the airlines, the airports, and the FAA.

At the time this legislation was passed, Congress was facing a budget crisis. They abruptly resolved the crisis by passing the “Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990“. Incredibly, that budget package included three different Acts for FAA funding, two of which were aimed at aviation capacity. One was ANCA, the other was the Aviation Safety & Capacity Expansion Act of 1990.

This pop-out view is scrollable, and the PDF copy may be downloaded.

Legislation does not just appear; it happens because someone wants/needs it to happen. Such was the case in 1990, and still is the case today. One difference between 1990 and today is the ‘driver’.

In 1990, Senator Wendell Ford was representing Kentucky, where one of two major air cargo carriers operates their main cargo hub: in Louisville. Ford was carrying water for UPS and other commercial aviation firms, who wanted to not be burdened by noise rules. This they accomplished with the passage of ANCA.

In recent years, FAA has been leading the charge, though they engage so many lobbyists and industry players to try and make it look like FAA is just an observer. Currently, FAA seeks to impose NextGen because it will necessitate billions of dollars in technology upgrades. This is essentially an economic stimulus program. Of course, the primary beneficiaries of that economic stimulus are a handful of industry players, and quite a few FAA retirees working as consultants. So, it is not surprising they are inclined to say anything – no matter how false or absurd – if it may help further fund NextGen. Thankfully, so far, there have been many people who see this fraud and are speaking up to stop it.

UPDATED 7/7/2017, 9/14/2017