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Fri, Jun 29, 2007

EAA Calls House FAA Funding Bill 'A Positive Step' Against User Fees

Notes Increases In Certification Charges, Fuel Taxes

Continuing the cautiously optimistic response by other aviation "letter groups" to Thursday's marked-up H.R. 2881, the House version of the FAA Reauthorization Proposal, the Experimental Aircraft Association called the House's bill "a positive step" against establishing a user fee-based funding structure.

"EAA is appreciative of the members of the House Aviation subcommittee who listened to general aviations concerns and responded in such a positive way," said EAA president Tom Poberezny.

As ANN reported, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced its version of a FAA Reauthorization Proposal (H.R. 2881) late Wednesday without the inclusion of any user fees. The bill now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee, with a recommendation to increase the current aviation gas tax from 19.3 cents per gallon to 24.1 cents per gallon and the Jet-A fuel tax rate from 21.8 cents per gallon to 30.7 cents per gallon.

The House bill does include FAA and EAA supported language regarding the release of information contained in abandoned type certificates. The language in the bill does contain some alterations that need to be evaluated but this is a good step in addressing the needs of vintage aircraft owners.

The House bill also authorizes $13 billion for FAA Facilities and Equipment for implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. This is important as it reinforces the GA community's contention that the FAA could move forward with the building of the next generation air transportation system without imposing user fees.

Not all the news is good, however. The bill would increase fees for various FAA services such as aircraft registration and certification fees. For example, the one-time, five-dollar fee to register an aircraft would increase to $130. The House also voted to include additional amendments and revisions to the bill Thursday, that could result in provisions that the White House has indicated would result in a veto.

"This is a start, but we cannot rest with this news," said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. "Now that the House has not proposed user fees, the airlines will be redoubling their efforts to shift taxes to general aviation. In addition, the taxes and fees in this proposed bill will be debated by the House Finance Committee later this month."

FMI: www.eaa.org, http://transportation.house.gov

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