Twenty-Eight Senators Sign Letter To President Obama
The NBAA and GAMA on Monday thanked a group of U.S. senators for reminding President Obama that they oppose the $100-per-flight user fee proposed in the president's fiscal year 2013 federal budget. In a recent letter, 28 senators told the president that bipartisan passage of the comprehensive, multi-year FAA reauthorization bill was "in part because it did not assess new user fees on general aviation (GA)." The letter was circulated by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Mike Johanns (R-NE), co-chairs of the Senate GA Caucus.
"We thank the senators for standing up for general aviation and sending this letter to remind the president of their opposition to new user fees," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
The senators' letter added that "we believe the per-gallon tax assessed on aviation gasoline and jet fuel is the most efficient and effective way to generate revenue from aviation users."
"The senators are right," Bolen said. "For decades, the fuel tax has been an efficient, effective and reliable means for general aviation to pay for its use of the system. There is no need to replace this pay-at-the-pump mechanism with a new user fee collection bureaucracy."
Bolen noted that a bipartisan group of 195 House members recently sent a letter to president opposing user fees. That letter said: "imposing a $100-per-flight fee on commercial and general aviation is the wrong approach, and we respectfully request that you abandon this idea once and for all."
"The letters from the House and Senate underscore the fact that there is bipartisan, bicameral opposition to user fees on Capitol Hill," Bolen said. "NBAA will continue working with these and other leaders in Congress to support FAA funding and aviation system modernization without user fees for general aviation, so that our nation's aviation system can remain the world’s largest, safest and most efficient."
The letter also also pointed out the negative safety ramifications that user fees could have on general aviation by creating a disincentive for pilots to use air traffic control services which allows for safety-enhancing flight tracking and real-time weather and traffic information.
“We are grateful that the Senate GA Caucus is sending the White House a message loud and clear that user fees are a non-starter,” said GAMA President and CEO, Pete Bunce. “The leadership provided by this caucus is extremely valuable in helping to bring awareness to this ill-conceived proposal.”