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Letter to Congressional Leaders Recommending Additional Air Traffic Controller Positions.

November 07, 1969

AIR TRANSPORTATION is a rapidly growing and vital part of the national economy. It is essential that we keep our air transportation system safe, economic and efficient. I have stressed many times my determination to take the steps necessary to maintain the safety and improve the effectiveness of the nation's air traffic control system.

The airport and airway development bill now moving through Congress will provide the revenues and the means for assuring that the facilities which support air transportation will keep pace with its growth. I strongly urge that the Congress approve this legislation promptly. As soon as it is enacted, including the new user charges, I will propose the additional appropriations for new and expanded programs for airways facilities and airports so that we can begin to meet air transportation needs of the 1970s.

Meanwhile, I am now proposing that we take a step toward meeting and anticipating the needs for additional air traffic controllers. These men and women carry much of the responsibility for facilitating the efficient and rapid flow of air traffic, and for preventing mid-air collisions of aircraft. The system requires many controllers, and it takes up to two years to train a beginner until he reaches journeyman status.

Accordingly, at the recommendation of the Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Volpe, I ask that the Congress approve the addition of 1,000 more controller positions in the current fiscal year. These are in addition to the 2,800 positions already included in the Department of Transportation's budget estimates now being considered by the Appropriations Committees. Supporting documentation for this proposal will be supplied to the Committees by the Department.

Since the continuing resolution has held the operations of the Department of Transportation so far in this fiscal year to the fiscal year 1969 level, no additional appropriations beyond the pending 1970 budget request will be required to support these additional 1,000 traffic controller positions.

I urgently request that the Congress approve this proposal.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, President of the Senate, and to Senator Richard B. Russell, Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate. The letter was dated November 6, 1969 and released November 7, 1969.

The Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1970, which was passed on December 26, 1969 (Public Law 91-268, 83 Stat. 454), included the President's request for 1,000 additional traffic controller positions but did not provide appropriations for the positions.

The text of the letter was released at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Richard Nixon, Letter to Congressional Leaders Recommending Additional Air Traffic Controller Positions. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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