Bolen: Obama's Position On The Issue 'Tired Rhetoric'
In response to a petition calling on the president to reconsider
his support for user fees, A White House staff person sent the
message on Friday to all signatories to the petition, defending the
Administration's position on the issue.
The message came from Dana Hyde, Associate Director for General
Government Programs, Office of Management and Budget. "In a
challenging budget environment, the Obama Administration believes
it’s essential that those who benefit from our world-class
aviation system help pay for its ongoing operation," Hyde wrote.
"And we want to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share.
For example, under current law, a large commercial aircraft flying
from Los Angeles to San Francisco pays between twenty-one and
thirty-three times the fuel taxes paid by a corporate jet flying
the same route and using the same FAA air traffic services. This is
why the Administration proposed to establish a new surcharge for
air traffic services.
"The proposed $100 per flight fee would generate an estimated
$11 billion over 10 years, reducing the deficit and more equitably
sharing the cost of air traffic services across the aviation user
community. All piston aircraft, military aircraft, public aircraft,
air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace,
and Canada-to-Canada flights would be exempted.
"We appreciate your petition's acknowledgment that there needs
to be an increased user contribution to aviation system funding in
the current fiscal climate, and we recognize that some would prefer
to raise the tax rate on aviation fuel. At the same time, we have
concluded that a $100 per flight user fee is an equitable way for
those who benefit to bear the cost of this essential service."
The message goes on to reiterate that aviation needs to pay its
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen (pictured) issued a
statement in response to the signal of renewed support
from the Obama White House for per-flight user fees for general
"The general aviation community has responded in a proactive and
responsible way with regard to funding our nation's air
transportation system," Bolen wrote. "But, with its response to the
industry's unified and well-founded concerns over user fees for
general aviation, the Obama Administration has made clear its
intention to ignore the fact that fuel taxes are a proven,
efficient, fair and environmentally friendly way to charge for the
industry's use of the aviation system. Instead, the White House
intends to set aside the industry's concerns by pushing ahead with
an administratively burdensome, bureaucracy-building, foreign-style
user fee scheme that has very little to do with actual costs
imposed on the system.
"Unfortunately, it appears the White House will continue
supporting its position on user fees by promoting the tired
rhetoric that disparages general aviation, when it should instead
be promoting the industry, and the jobs, exports and economic
development it generates."