Trump plans week-long focus on infrastructure, starting with privatizing air traffic control

The events — billed as “infrastructure week” — are part of a stepped-up effort since the president’s return a week ago from his first foreign trip to show that the White House remains focused on its agenda, despite cascading headlines about investigations into his administration’s ties to Russia.

The president has invited executives from major airlines to join him as he kicks off the week with one of his more controversial plans: spinning off the air traffic control functions of the Federal Aviation Administration to a nonprofit corporation.

It’s an idea that has been tried many times before, dating back to the Clinton administration and, most recently, last year in legislation championed by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee. His bill never made it to the Senate, where several key GOP members resisted the idea of transferring government assets to a corporation.

Advocates of the idea argue that privatization would speed up glacial efforts by the FAA to modernize a system that still relies on land-based radar at a time when other countries have switched to GPS systems that allow more direct routes at lower costs.