Todd Rokita

House panel weighs privatizing air traffic control

A House panel on Tuesday weighed legislation that would split off management of the nation's skies from the Federal Aviation Administration and give that responsibility to an independent, nonprofit company.

The idea is to remove air traffic control from the vagaries of the government budget process. Proponents say Washington dysfunction hampers the FAA's efforts to update equipment designed to make flying quicker and safer. The FAA would maintain its role in issuing and enforcing regulations designed to enhance safety.

The union representing about 18,000 air traffic control workers and engineers supports Rep. Bill Shuster's bill. The union said the legislation will protect...