Reaffirms Belief Current Tax Structure Could Fund NextGen
Members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association are
opposed to the idea of a $25 per flight user fee for
turbine-powered aircraft, AOPA President Phil Boyer told members of
the Senate Commerce Committee in a May 10 letter.
Boyer (right) acknowledged the Aviation Investment and
Modernization Act of 2007 (Senate Bill 1300), the Senate's
alternative to taxes and user fees proposed by the FAA in its bill,
did address many AOPA members' concerns.
"With that said, AOPA remains very concerned about the
precedent-setting introduction of user fees and the impact on our
members who fly turbine-engine aircraft," Boyer wrote. Even though
piston-engine aircraft would be exempt from the charge, "the
majority of AOPA members are opposed to the surcharge, believing
that once a user fee or surcharge is introduced, it is only a
matter of time before it will apply to them."
Boyer noted the positives in the Senate bill,
including increased airport funding and no increase in taxes on
aviation gasoline. He also said AOPA supports modernization of the
air traffic control system... but reaffirmed his belief the NextGen
program can be paid for through the FAA's existing tax-based
"As the FAA reauthorization bill moves through the process, we
ask that you support efforts, such as an amendment, to address the
concerns of pilots by removing the air traffic modernization
surcharge from the legislation," Boyer wrote the committee.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Capitol, one member of the
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee took sharp note
of the user fee provision in the Senate bill.
"Some people are doing everything they can to advocate for a
user fee. I think it's pretty clever what happened over in the
Senate," said Iowa congressman Leonard Boswell during an aviation
subcommittee hearing on May 9. "Pretty clever to separate the
general aviation community.... I hope we don't go down that
Boswell, a pilot, AOPA member, and vocal opponent of user fees,
said he did not want to see general aviation in the
United States destroyed by user fees as it has been elsewhere in
The House Transportation Committee will be writing its own FAA
funding/reauthorization bill. Differences between the Senate and
House bills will ultimately be reconciled in a joint conference