March 5, 2014 - The White House released its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year and once again included a $100 per-flight user fee for many general aviation flights. The concept is almost exactly the same proposal that was rejected by Congress a year ago, and for each of the two years before that.
EAA and other GA organizations maintain that such a proposal is bad policy as it was in previous years. General aviation already pays into the Aviation Trust Fund through taxes assessed on every gallon of aviation fuel purchased throughout the year. This system ensures that everyone who flies pays into the fund, not just those who file flight plans or otherwise use ATC services. Fuel taxes are by far the most equitable and inexpensive means of administering revenue collection and do not require a large bureaucracy to invoice and collect.
"We are astounded that the administration continues to believe that GA user fees are a good idea and sound public policy," said Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. "Broad-based bipartisan opposition in Congress has consistently rejected the concept and told the White House that such a proposal is not in the best interests of the nation or of the general aviation community."
Congress has already spoken on this proposal. On February 27, leaders of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus sent a letter to President Obama reiterating their strong bipartisan opposition to user fees and asked the President not to include a user fee proposal in his upcoming budget. The letter noted that the House of Representatives has repeatedly rejected this user fee proposal and opposition remains strong in both parties.
EAA will continue to battle before Congress on behalf of its members and GA, as user fees will add expense and administrative burdens on those who fly without providing any advantage to those who use the airspace system or the agencies that maintain it.