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Fri, Feb 29, 2008

NBAA's Bolen Reiterates GA's Support For ATC Modernization

Says Senator's "Suggestion" Isn't Based On Facts

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen reiterated Thursday the general aviation community's support for aviation system modernization, a topic of discussion at a Congressional hearing.

"Unfortunately, a suggestion was made at today's hearing that general aviation is an obstacle to modernization," Bolen said. "That simply is not the case."

Bolen refers to comments made by Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), who said an FAA reauthorization plan stood no chance of passing in 2007 "based on the GA community's inability to compromise" on agreeing to a $25-per-flight user fee for most turbine aircraft flying under IFR flight plans, as called for under the Senate reauthorization bill S.1300.

Contradicting the senator's assertions, Bolen noted general aviation has been united in supporting funding provisions in two Congressional modernization proposals, H.R. 2881 and S.2345, because the bills tie a 65-percent tax increase on general aviation fuel taxes directly to system transformation -- while wisely avoiding the creation of a giant, expensive and overly burdensome user fee bureaucracy.

"The fuel tax is a proven, efficient means for general aviation to pay at the pump for use of the system," Bolen said. "These two Congressional proposals build on the time-tested fuel tax to provide additional revenues for FAA funding and aviation system improvements."

Bolen (right) also called into question an FAA study referenced during the hearing, which provides a flawed analysis of the amount general aviation currently pays for its use of the system.

"First, FAA data shows that general aviation pays approximately nine percent of the revenues into the aviation Trust Fund - not the three percent quoted today," Bolen said. "But equally important, the methodology used in the study is at odds with mainstream economic practices and the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Even the Governmental Accountability Office - the watchdog for Congress - has said the conclusions in the study can't be fully substantiated.

"NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community have long supported aviation system modernization," Bolen said. "We will continue to work with members of the Commerce Committee, and everyone in Congress, to get a final FAA reauthorization bill that will provide much-needed improvements to the nation's air traffic infrastructure."



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