Thanks Members For Contacting Representatives
As ANN reported, the House of
Representatives passed H.R.2881, the FAA Reauthorization Act of
2007, on Thursday. The bill would fund the FAA through 2011,
provide additional money for the agency's planned air traffic
control modernization, and increase the funds for airport
improvements... particularly small general aviation airports,
according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
"H.R. 2881 is a great model for funding our future aviation
system," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And the best news for
general aviation—no user fees, a modest fuel tax increase for
NextGen, and no tax cuts for the airlines."
Boyer also thanks AOPA members who assisted the organization's
battle, "by responding to our targeted communications asking them
to contact certain members of the House at key times."
Next up comes the Senate... where a far different plan to fund
the FAA is being considered. The Senate Finance Committee was
scheduled on the Thursday to debate changes to the Senate's version
of an FAA funding bill (S.1300).
Unlike the House plan, the Senate version calls for no new user
fees for pilots flying piston aircraft in VFR conditions. The plan
would phase out a 4.3 cent per gallon tax airlines pay for fuel,
however, and compensate for lost revenue with the introduction of a
new per-trip fee for turbine general aviation pilots who fly under
IFR flight plans, with limited exceptions for medical flights and
other emergency operations
That plan doesn't hold water with several aviation
letter-groups... as it leaves the door open for more onerous fees
down the line. Once the Senate bill is finalized and approved by
the full Senate, a conference committee will resolve the
differences between H.R. 2881 and S.1300.
"We said from the
beginning, take user fees off the table and we'll discuss whether
there should be an adjustment in what GA pays," said Boyer.
"General aviation is willing to pay more to improve the air traffic
control system, unlike the airlines who wanted to change the entire
FAA funding system to obtain a huge tax cut for themselves."
H.R. 2881 would provide nearly $68 billion to the FAA over the
next four years, according to AOPA. Some $13 billion would be
available to maintain and improve FAA facilities and equipment,
including $5 billion for the start of the NextGen air traffic
control modernization program.
Another $15.8 billion would be put into the Airport Improvement
Program, and more than $37 billion for FAA salaries and other
"The House has demonstrated that the administration and the
airlines were wrong," said Boyer. "The system was never broken. We
can continue to maintain and improve the world's safest aviation
system within the time-proven aviation tax system."