Aviation groups are raising the alarm after combing President Barack Obama’s first budget and finding the term “direct user charges” in relation to FAA funding. In fact, the Obama administration targets raising $7 billion annually, roughly half the FAA’s budget by “repealing some aviation excise taxes and replacing these taxes with direct user charges.” The charges would begin in 2011. The language is on page 129 of the budget (View the PDF.) Not surprisingly, general aviation groups are unanimous in their opposition to the language.
It is often said the devil is in the details, but even with only a few details, there is much about which we are concerned,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. Fuller said AOPA has been working with the new administration on air traffic control modernization and airport development The warning light went on with the budget briefing documents and the plan for imposing billions in user fees on the aviation community.” There is no mention of the form the fees might take or what taxes they’ll replace but the lobbying against them has already begun. And a senior congressman is reminding the administration that aviation user fees have had a rough ride in the legislative process. “Aviation user fees have been proposed several times in the past by OMBs of various administrations, and have not been adopted by Congress.” Oberstar noted.