User Fees Not in 2011 Proposed FAA Budget
February 4, 2010 —The While House has released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 and unlike previous proposal, there is no call for a system of user fees to be imposed on general aviation. Since virtually all of GA has rejected the notion of user fees to fund the FAA, this demonstrates the success of the GA community in finally convincing policy makers that user fees would severely affect general aviation’s viability.
Since user fees were first proposed in early 2006, EAA members and EAA have made it clear that funding the FAA and air traffic modernization is best accomplished through the existing, efficient fuel excise tax mechanisms. User fees would only impose greater costs and require creation of a new bureaucracy to administer them, and result in no additional revenue.
“The system is elegant in its simplicity; the more we fly, the more fuel we burn, the more we pay in taxes. There can be no more accurate measure of our direct use of the national airspace system,” said Doug Macnair, EAA’s vice-president of government relations.
The House Aviation Subcommittee has repeatedly voted down user fee proposals on general aviation and passed FAA Reauthorization bills year after year without such provisions. The opposition against user fees has coalesced in Congress as members of the newly formed House General Aviation Caucus signed a letter to the Administration last year urging the White House not to propose user fees in the current or future budget cycles.
“The elected officials have stood strongly in defense of general aviation but that does not happen unless they hear from members like you who reach out to your elected officials to have your voice heard,” said Macnair. “EAA works hard in Washington to represent your views but without direct contact to elected officials from members, our efforts could not be nearly as successful.”
It is too soon to tell whether the omission of user fees from the White House budget is truly a permanent shift in policy or simply deferring a controversial fight for another day. Macnair thanks EAA members for their tireless efforts in this legislative fight and says EAA will continue to be vigilant for any signs of a resurgence of this issue. But one thing is clear; our recreational aviation community must continue making our voices heard over the din of media rhetoric and public ignorance of who we are and what we stand for.