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EAA Opposes User-Fee Proposal And Fuel Tax Hike Included In Federal DOT-FAA Budget Request


February 5, 2007 — What the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and other general aviation groups had been predicting for months became fact today, as user fees were a centerpiece of the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration.

EAA immediately reiterated its strong opposition to any user fees, as the budget proposal includes the framework to establish a user-fee program for various aviation services; a nearly four-fold increase in the fuel tax paid by general aviation operators (avgas and autogas); and a series of fees for access to the nation's busiest airports. It would also transfer control of agency funding and oversight away from Congress and dramatically reduce public control of how the FAA exercises its discretionary spending.

"DOT and FAA have attempted to distract from the user fee issue in their public statements by saying that revenue from general aviation would continue to be collected via a fuel tax, but they failed to acknowledge that the fuel tax would be increased dramatically and a whole series of user fees would be implemented for FAA services that today do not carry a charge," said Doug Macnair, EAA Vice-President of Government Relations.

"EAA remains categorically opposed to user fees. Such a system will not enhance safety, it will not improve services, and it will add barriers for thousands of recreational aviators while being a costly burden to the federal government."

The budget proposal calls for increased and or the establishment of fees for aircraft certification and registration, as well as appointment and designation of designees such as those used to certificate amateur-built aircraft and light sport aircraft, and airman medical certificates.

While EAA has strong indications of what the Bush Administration is proposing, the details of the new user fee and tax hike proposals will become publicly available when the FAA reauthorization bill is submitted to Congress in mid-February. EAA and the other general aviation groups will continue to fight this effort to burden individual aircraft owners with this new expense.

"It is an ironic twist that while DOT Secretary (Mary) Peters said the budget proposal as a whole will 'help get our freedom back' in the nation's transportation infrastructure, it severely threatens the freedom of our country's general aviation community," Macnair said.

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