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Thu, Mar 06, 2008

Coalition Urges Congress To Pass FAA Reauthorization

ACI-NA Joins With GAMA, ALPA, And 32 Other Groups (But Not AOPA)

In a coalition letter to the US Senate this week, 35 aviation organizations called for members to pass a comprehensive, long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill this year and urged the Senate to make the legislation a priority. 

"It is critical for Congress to recognize how important aviation is to our economy and to complete the FAA reauthorization process," said Greg Principato, president of the Airports Council International - North America. "We need to ensure that our aviation system is able to grow in a safe, secure and efficient manner.”

The coalition letter was delivered to the full Senate Wednesday afternoon.  

Thirty-five organizations signed the letter, including the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Conference of State Legislatures, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Association of Airport Executives, National Business Aviation Association, Air Line Pilots Association, Airport Consultants Council, Aerospace Industries Association, Air Carrier Association of America, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, National Air Transport Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the Cargo Airline Association.

While individual goals are diverse, the organizations are unified in recognizing the importance of advancing a multiyear FAA reauthorization legislation. The coalition letter notes that the integrity of our aviation systems and the ability to meet future demands are dependent upon the federal government's success in meeting its obligations to provide adequate infrastructure. The first step in meeting those obligations is for the Senate to advance a comprehensive and long-term FAA reauthorization bill, according to the coalition.

Conspicuous in its absence from the signatory list, however, was the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association... which tells ANN the organization opted to "avoid any confusion about our position in supporting the Finance Committee bill, S. 2345 and the House passed legislation HR 2881 that use aviation taxes, not user fees to help pay for ATC modernization and AIP," according to AOPA President Phil Boyer.

"AOPA is a strong supporter of modernizing the air traffic control system and providing robust funding for airports though the Airport Improvement Program and we understand and have supported the need to boost this funding, including increasing the fuel taxes on general aviation users to help pay for ATC modernization," Boyer added. "The Association's position has been consistent during the debate on how to finance these improvements; AOPA believes they should be financed by a combination of aviation taxes from the users and general taxpayers through the general fund. We are opposed to the implementation of user fees for any segment of aviation, regardless of the amount of the fee, it is a foundational policy that AOPA opposes."

FMI: Read The Letter (.pdf)

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