Congress has passed the FAA funding bill, and in effect said, “The current tax system works just fine, thank you.” So much for the FAA’s claim that the system is “broken.” And once again, lawmakers said, “No user fees!” Said AOPA President Phil Boyer, “Congress, acting as the board of directors for the FAA, has once again decided that the fairest, most responsible way to pay for aviation’s benefits to all citizens is through excise taxes and general fund contributions. And that’s why we want to make sure that Congress retains oversight of the FAA.” However, the language pertaining to user fees only applies through September 2006. Meanwhile, there are some in Washington who continue to support a funding system that ties revenue to services provided. That means that potentially every FAA “service”?a flight service station or DUAT weather briefing, every contact with a tower or en route controller, every new certificate or rating issuance, and conceivably every landing at a federally funded airport?would result in a direct charge to the pilot for that service. But for this year, Congress found that the revenue from the aviation trust fund and the general fund was enough to give the FAA even more money than the Bush administration asked for. There’s good news for GA in that, since it means aid to smaller airports and more instrument approaches to airports that don’t currently have them.

Source: AOPA ePilot

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