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In the 1950s, American cars had no seat belts; drunken driving got you a small fine; and many state highways were dirt or gravel. It's hard to imagine now that we have air bags, anti-lock brakes and a national highway system. Yet, incredibly, another crucial area of transportation still uses 1950s-era infrastructure: the air traffic control system.
U.S. air traffic controllers still use basically the same radar-and-radio system developed some 60 years ago, with equipment in some cases decades old. If a controller from 1980 could time-travel to today, he could start working again with little problem. And while the solid design of these systems has kept air traffic safely aloft for a very long time, it's time for Congress to back a much-needed transformation.
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