FUTURE FAA FUNDING QUESTIONS CONTINUE; USER FEES AN OPTION?

No title In recent months, there’s been no question that the FAA is seeking changes to the way it’s funded. All this is counting down to October 2007 when Congress will make the final decision on whether aviation taxes and the trust fund continue or there is a switch to an alternative means of collecting money for the FAA. Earlier this week, the agency, through the Federal Register, asked for public input on a “new financing structure” for the agency. From the summary, it’s pretty easy to see the FAA and the Bush administration’s preferred course of action. “The new financing structure should generate stable and predictable revenue,” said the FAA. “The funding mechanism chosen should tie revenues raised for the system to the infrastructure and operational costs of the system.” The Federal Register summary lists seven question areas, including “other funding alternatives for cost recovery of ATC services and cost allocation” and,”lessons learned from other countries.” The “other countries” listed in the FAA’s documentation are all user fee-funded systems. “Some of the ideas they’re exploring right now would have a profound and fundamental economic impact on our ability to continue using general aviation for personal transportation and recreation,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “If the FAA does, in fact, have user fees in mind as a way to fund itself, rest assured we will devote all of our staff and resources to opposing it. And when the time comes, we will be calling on our members to get involved with Congress as well.” See AOPA Online.

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