Says Industry Is "Unified" On Need To Reauthorize Agency
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Craig L.
Fuller told Congress on Wednesday that AOPA members strongly
support the new Federal Aviation Administration funding
(reauthorization) bill just introduced in the House of
Representatives. Testifying during the sixth week of his
presidency, Fuller reminded the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Aviation subcommittee that he has flown for 42 years
and understands firsthand what it means to be a general aviation
"The bottom line for us is that we support the measure, we
support the use of aviation fuel taxes as a means of support from
our segment of the aviation community," Fuller said in his
testimony. He noted that general aviation had agreed to do its
share to support air traffic control (ATC) modernization by
accepting an increase in aviation fuel taxes, rather than user
Fuller pointed out that, unlike past years, the entire industry
supports the FAA funding bill this time around.
"I think it is important and impressive that we are here today
in agreement on FAA reauthorization," said Fuller. "We’re all
unified, all believing from our unique perspectives that the FAA
reauthorization needs to go forward for a four-year period, not
only to give certainty to the agency, but to give certainty to all
of us who fly in the system, and who invest in system."
In his prepared testimony, Fuller said AOPA members endorse a
four-year authorization bill that provides much-needed investment
in safety, ATC modernization, FAA operations, airport improvements,
and aviation research. Members also supported, "the time-tested
system of passenger transportation and general aviation fuel taxes
in combination with general fund revenues to support the FAA and
the aviation system."
He praised Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN)
and aviation subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL) for their
leadership in the last Congress that led to the agreement not to
impose user fees. Prior to his testimony, Fuller held private
meetings with Oberstar and other key members of Congress concerned
with FAA funding.
"Everybody knows how concerned our members are about user fees,"
Fuller (shown below) said. "AOPA strongly supported the financing
approach contained in H.R.2881," the FAA funding bill that passed
the House but stalled in the Senate during the last Congress.
The new FAA funding bill -- The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009
(H.R.915) -- is nearly identical to H.R. 2881.
As ANN reported, that bill was approved by the
House in September 2007... but the Senate's version stalled in
committee. Reps. Oberstar and Costello introduced the new bill
When asked about fees for FAA services, such as aircraft
registration, included in the new bill, Fuller responded he
understood the need for existing fees... but added AOPA "would take
exception" to the proposed new $42 fee for renewing a medical