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Wed, Nov 08, 2006

Midterm Results Could Be A Mixed Bag For Aviation Interests

Dems Control House, Senate Still To Be Determined

Results from Tuesday's midterm elections are shaping up as many expected they would. Democrats have seized control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans... while the question of which party will have control of the Senate is still up in the air.

And speaking of "up in the air"... how might this election influence issues currently facing pilots, such as the issue of user fees to fund the FAA?

Last week, Aero-News spoke with Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, about that very subject. Based on his insights from that conversation, and what we know so far about Tuesday's results... we may be in for a mixed bag.

Democrats have historically been more in favor of subsidies that could help general aviation pilots avoid "pay per use" programs being touted by the FAA, and the airlines, to fund the agency past 2007. Over time, that party has also had a generally more favorable overall impact on general aviation, according to Boyer.

On the flip side, at least one expected GA advocate -- Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq war whose husband is a private pilot -- lost her bid for the Illinois 6th to Republican Peter Roskam.

Should the Senate remain under Republican control, that balance of power... combined with a Democrat-led House, and a lame-duck presidency for the next two years... could mean good news in the end.

As Boyer puts it... GA would probably fare best with very little attention being paid to minor issues as FAA funding.

You can bet the elections will be a hot topic at this week's AOPA Expo in Palm Springs. Stay tuned...

FMI: www.aopa.org

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