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Anticipated House FAA Funding Bill Could Differ From Senate On User Fees

 

May 24, 2007 — User fees continue to be the major sticking point regarding FAA funding and reauthorization legislation, and it?s looking more and more like the ultimate decision could be hammered out from opposite sides of the table in conference committee this summer. Last week the Senate Commerce Committee narrowly defeated an amendment to remove user fees for turbine aircraft and set the stage for a floor vote on the Lott-Rockefeller bill (S.1300).

Meanwhile, the House Aviation Subcommittee has been drafting its own version of a reauthorization bill in the hopes of completing it before the Memorial Day recess. What emerges may be very different from the Senate version, which includes a $25 ?Modernization Surcharge? for instrument flight plans filed by operators of turbine-powered aircraft. Wide, bipartisan opposition to user fees and sharp tax increases met FAA?s original proposal at House subcommittee hearings held earlier this year, foreshadowing a more moderate House bill with regard to user fees and GA fuel tax increases.

At issue is not so much the dollar amount of the modernization surcharge or who it impacts as much as it sets in place an FAA billing and collection apparatus for user fees that would very likely spread in future years to other users of the national airspace system.

?It is clear to us that the implementation of any user fee system, regardless of who it targets, would set a dangerous precedent,? said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. ?The temptation by FAA and Congress to increase the breadth of these fees in future budget cycles, casting an ever wider net to raise additional revenue, would be overwhelming. We cannot stand for that.?

Actions by EAA members contacting their elected representatives are clearly having an effect, and EAA urges everyone to keep up the pressure. ?Frankly, there?s never been a more important time to contact your Senators and Congressional representatives and let them know why you?re staunchly opposed to user fees in any form,? Macnair said. ?Our voices are making a difference in this debate.?

For more information on contacting your elected officials, visit www.eaa.org/govt/index.html.

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