EAA Joins Broad Coalition Opposed To User Fees
April 12, 2007 — Ripple effects of the FAA's planned overhaul of our nation's aviation funding system would negatively impact many parts of rural America, small businesses, charitable organizations and others who are left unserved by large airlines and the hub-and-spoke system. To help stop that negative impact, EAA and others in the GA community have joined with several non-aviation organizations to form the Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA). The new organization, which was introduced to the media via teleconference Tuesday, presents united, broad-based support for the fight against the user fee and general aviation tax hike proposal currently being debated in Congress.
EAA President Tom Poberezny said the coalition affirms EAA's contention that the administration's plan would have a negative effect far beyond people who fly, airports, and the GA community.
"This new organization clearly shows that many people outside the aviation community are deeply concerned about the effects the user fee proposal would have on them," he said. "Many people and business depend on general aviation, and we're enthusiastically supporting AAAA and its efforts."
Non-aviation groups involved include the League of Rural Voters, the National Farmer's Union, the Mississippi Livestock Marketing Association, MedImpact HealthCare Systems Inc., and dozens of small and medium-size businesses and individuals from throughout the country.
"Our coalition is here to send a clear message to lawmakers that we stand united against a radical user fees proposal which would decimate businesses and communities around our country through a huge tax hike," said Gene Wright, Mayor of Quinwood, West Virginia, a pilot and coalition member. "This special interest legislation would benefit no one but the big commercial airlines."
Niel Ritchie, president of the League of Rural Voters, called community airports critical to the security, mobility, and economies of small-town America. "The airline-backed plan is a poison pill for rural towns and communities across America," he said. "This huge tax hike would ground many of these small planes that are the lifeline to these communities, impacting access to specialized medical care, disaster relief, and business resources."
Along with EAA, aviation organizations involved include the Air Care Alliance; Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA); the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA); Angel Flight Mid Atlantic; General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA); Helicopter Association International (HAI); International Council of Air Shows (ICAS); National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA); National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA); National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO); National Air Transportation Association (NATA); and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).