April 11, 2013 - Despite repeated rejections of the proposal in Congress over the past decade, the Obama administration once again introduced $100-per-flight user fees for general aviation even as a majority of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the president opposing the idea.
"Each and every administration, representing both parties, cannot seem to resist the temptation of tapping general aviation for new revenue, but user fees were a bad idea before and remain a bad idea today," said Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. "General aviation already pays its share of the national airspace system through fuel taxes. User fees will raise a minimal amount of money likely offset by the need for a burdensome collection bureaucracy, while snuffing economic growth in the aviation community where America still clings to a leadership position."
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed the user fee proposal in Wednesday's media availability that reviewed FAA's portion of the Obama administration's budget proposal. The $100-per-flight fee would include exemptions for recreational piston aircraft and aircraft flying outside controlled airspace. The user fee plan would raise a projected $807 million annually, but failed to account for the cost of creating a collection mechanism for the revenue.
The proposal comes in spite of a bipartisan letter from 223 House members to President Obama expressing strong opposition to any user fee plan. The 233 signatures is a record number in opposition to GA user fees and an extraordinary show of bi-partisanship and support for any one particular issue.
"Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress has rejected them," the letter stated. "Aviation user fees have been proposed by different administrations, both Republican and Democrat, and again, Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them."
EAA joins other aviation organizations in a unified front against any user fee proposal.
"Even with proposed exemptions for recreational flight and flying in uncontrolled airspace, any GA user fees would create a slippery slope toward per-flight assessments on all flying," Macnair said. "It is bad policy for the economy, for aviation safety, and for growing participation in aviation. We will continue to oppose user fees every time the idea is presented."