User Fees – NOT The Solution

The chairman-apparent of the House Transportation Committee wasted little time in making clear his position on general aviation user fees. “The idea of a cash register in the sky to cover the cost of aviation is not appealing to me, to general aviation, to regional aviation,” said Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) at a Tuesday press conference. With the shift in power following the midterm elections, Oberstar is expected to assume the chair of the committee responsible for FAA funding. The FAA and the airline industry are backing a plan that would charge fees to all system users and create an air traffic control governing board dominated by the airlines. Oberstar called that a “bad idea.” “There are some functions government must undertake in the public interest,” said Oberstar, noting that he had opposed a similar plan proposed by the Gore Commission in 1993. He said it was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now?the “airlines deciding how aviation operations, air traffic control and all the rest will be conducted.”

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