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Sat, Jan 14, 2012

NBAA Not Buying White House Defense Of User Fees

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 "fair share."

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 aviation.

"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."

FMI: www.nbaa.org, Full White House Statement

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