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GA User Fees Back Again in New White House Budget

Selected $100-per-flight fees in "controlled airspace" proposed

February 13, 2012 - GA organizations are gearing up for yet another user fee battle after the Obama administration released is federal budget proposal today that included a $100-per-flight surcharge for aircraft that use federal air traffic services.

EAA immediately announced its opposition to the proposal and was joined by other major aviation organizations. EAA is already in touch with GA Caucus leadership in both houses of Congress encouraging opposition to the user fee proposal. Congress has repeatedly dismissed GA user fees in a bipartisan manner and reiterated its stance as recently as last week, with the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Bill now awaiting the presidentís signature.

"The administration continues to paint this added tax on general aviation as an 'equal sharing' of the expense burden but, simply put, it is not that at all," said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. "It is an additional tax onus on GA aircraft owners and pilots, who already pay their fair share of the small percentage of air traffic services they use through fuel taxes. Even pilots who never use ATC services pay for the system through the use of aviation gasoline and jet fuel."

The new $100-per-flight proposal would exempt all piston aircraft, military aircraft, public aircraft, air am¨bulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights. GA organizations have remained "stronger together," united behind a no GA user fee stance, as implementation of such fees could quickly expand to include all GA operations.

The administration's proposal was not unexpected, as a placeholder for GA user fees was added to prior budget proposals. An official from the Office of Management and Budget last month had also indicated administration support for user fees when replying to an online petition asking to take them "off the table."

"EAA's stance is no different than it has been over the past decade: User fees are a bad idea and would create many safety concerns, not to mention a whole new expensive federal bureaucracy," Macnair said. "The irony is not lost upon us that this bad proposal is re-introduced by the administration after both houses of Congress just last week passed a full FAA Reauthorization Bill that again rejected the user fee concept."

EAA will keep its members and other aviators informed regarding appropriate actions that can be taken to contact their federal legislators in opposition to any user fee plan.

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