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USA Today and NBC Attack GA with Slanted Airport Funding Story

Inaccurate claims that small airports receive disproportionate amount of federal money

September 17, 2009 — General aviation again came under attack in the media today, as USA Today and NBC ran stories that claim the nation’s smaller airports are receiving a disproportionate amount of federal funding to upgrade those facilities.

“This is very upsetting but not unexpected – It’s obvious the airlines are still trying to fix their broken business model by inflaming the public with one-sided media stories,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman/president. “For several years, the airlines have tried to shift the burden of supporting our nation’s airport infrastructure by tossing it on the back of general aviation. It was wrong before and it still is.”

Aviation fuel taxes paid by general aviation users of the national airspace system have annually exceeded the grants distributed for all airport improvements – but that fund designed exclusively for aviation infrastructure has been perennially raided to ease the FAA’s general budget shortfall.

Major air-carrier airports also receive federal funds at an amount three times that of funds distributed to general-aviation airports. GA users also pay five times more fuel taxes as the airlines to support the air traffic control system – of which the airlines are the overwhelming primary user.

Fuel taxes serve very much as similar motor-vehicle fuel taxes. Federal gas tax funds are distributed to build roads in all parts of the nation that most taxpayers will individually never use themselves, but are vital for the country’s entire transportation infrastructure.

“EAA agrees with one item from the USA Today story – the nation’s small airports are underutilized,” Poberezny said. “If major hub airports are overcrowded but smaller airports are ready and eager to serve aviation, why would it make any sense to wage war on small airports? They are all essential parts of the nation’s transportation system.”

Poberezny urged EAA members and GA pilots to read the USA Today article and respond as they see fit, since individual voices are as essential as aviation organizations in reacting to inaccurate media reports. For more factual information on the value of the nation’s general airports, visit www.GAservingAmerica.com.

EAA Radio:  EAA President Tom Poberezny talks about Airport Funding story

USA Today story and comment area available at:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-09-17-little-used-airports_N.htm

NBC story available at: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/32891213#32891213

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