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Editorials Slam FAA for Assessing ATC Fees at Oshkosh

Demand called 'misguided', 'out-of-line', and 'unlawful'

June 10, 2013 - The Oshkosh Northwestern editorial board and U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) each spoke in strong opposition over the weekend to the Federal Aviation Administration's demand for additional fees for air traffic services at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, as part of published editorials in the newspaper's Sunday edition.

The Northwestern editorial board's Sunday opinion, "FAA fee for AirVenture misguided," opened with the statement, "Though for a time it seemed the IRS would hands-down win the title of daffiest and most misguided three-lettered government agency, the FAA quickly shot up in the rankings last week." The editorial added that AirVenture is a rare venue where the agency can educate the public about the efforts of thousands of government employees who work behind the scenes to make travel safe and uneventful.

Rep. Petri's editorial in Sunday's same edition called the FAA's action "a basic abdication of its responsibilities." The congressman represents the Oshkosh area and two weeks ago joined three other House members in an initial letter to the FAA protesting its action. Rep. Petri continues to press the agency for answers, maintaining that the FAA's move is nothing less than another attempt to impose user fees on general aviation. Congress under both Republican and Democratic leadership has repeatedly rejected the notion of GA user fees for more than a decade.

The editorials come after a bipartisan group of 28 U.S. senators signed a letter to the FAA late last week that called the FAA's demand for nearly $500,000 in payments for air traffic services at AirVenture "completely unacceptable." Nearly 19,000 e-mails and letters were sent to the U.S. Senate in less than 48 hours, reflecting strong public sentiment against the FAA's unilateral decision.

The senators have asked for a response from the FAA no later than June 13.

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