The FAA, meanwhile, isn’t giving up easily. Blakey says she believes the proposal “absolutely does have a very high probability of becoming law.” And there are some signs the Senate is a bit more open to the user-fee idea. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is working on a funding bill, has said he’s “not offended” by the concept of user fees and knows “that the status quo [funding scheme] is not good enough.” Rockefeller is expected to propose an FAA bill by the end of April. If a law isn’t passed by the end of September, the current ticket-tax system expires with nothing to replace it, meaning FAA funding shortfalls.
“We all agree that we need more money, and you all are saying, ‘No, not me!'” Sen. Trent Lott, who’s working with Rockefeller, told a group of GA and commercial-aviation leaders recently. “That’s just not the way it’s going to happen.” Bluster, sniping, and lobbying, be damned.