Supports Increased Fuel Tax To Fund Aviation System
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) commended
aviation policymakers in the House of Representatives Thursday, for
introducing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding
legislation the group says promotes transformation to the Next
Generation Air Traffic System based on established aviation excise
taxes rather than a user fee structure.
"These House leaders have demonstrated a tremendous commitment
to strengthening the nation's aviation system with legislation that
builds on a proven funding mechanism rather than a foreign-style
user fee," NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said.
As ANN reported, the FAA
funding bill, titled "The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007," was
introduced by 34 House members Wednesday night, including House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar
(D-MN), Committee Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL), Aviation
Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL) and Subcommittee
Ranking Member Tom Petri (R-WI).
"These leaders, and the others who support this bill, understand
that the aviation system must be modernized to meet capacity
demands," Bolen continued, "but that user fees shouldn't be
mistaken for a modernization plan."
The nation's big airlines are promoting user fees as a way of
shifting billions of their costs onto general aviation and seizing
more control of the air traffic system.
testimony before Congress, Bolen has pointed out that user fees are
costly for governments to administer, requiring a large, expensive
bureaucracy. Additionally, user fees come with an administrative
burden for operators -- the International Air Transport Association
(IATA) reports that it costs IATA members from $85 to $125 to
process one invoice. User fees can go up when industry can afford
it least: In 2002, when air traffic was depressed as a result of
the recession and terrorist attacks, Canada raised its user fees to
cover its declining revenues.
"The fuel tax has none of these downfalls," Bolen said. "Users
pay the tax at the pump, the government easily collects it, and it
is a great reflection of the cost airplanes impose on the system.
On top of all that, the fuel tax is environmentally friendly,
because it encourages the development of cleaner, quieter engines.
NBAA applauds these House members for recognizing all of this and
preserving fuel tax for funding the FAA."