Cessna's Pelton says user fees not the answer

February 24, 2006

Cessna's Pelton says user fees not the answer

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Cessna CEO Jack Pelton at
the Washington Aero Club.

There is no compelling business case for scrapping the current way of funding the FAA for a user fee-based system. So said, Jack Pelton, chairman, president, and CEO of Cessna, during a speech Friday to the Aero Club of Washington.

He outlined five myths used to support the claim that the FAA funding system is broken. "My goal today is to debunk these myths and replace them with some business realities that need to influence the public debate," he said.

"Some who support changes in the FAA's funding mechanisms contend that the agency lacks a stable and predictable funding stream," said Pelton. "I disagree."

Pelton said that history speaks for itself.

"The truth is, the steadiness of the FAA's funding stream over the past decade has been nothing short of remarkable," he said, noting that Congress has routinely replaced money that administrations of both political parties have tried to strip away from the FAA.

Other myths that Pelton debunked include:

  • A funding overhaul is needed to pay for modernization and to cover revenue shortfalls from the declining commercial ticket tax;
  • General aviation does not pay its "fair share" for its use of the national air transportation system;
  • User fees will provide stable and predictable funding for the FAA; and
  • The very light jet is going to place a new and undue burden on the air transportation system.

Pelton offered a five-plank platform for strengthening the aviation system, including a call to reject user fees and to ensure continuing congressional authority.

"[T]he Report of the National Civil Aviation Review Commission endorsed general aviation fuel taxes as 'the most appropriate way for this important segment of civil aviation to pay its share of system costs,'" said Pelton. "Do not replace a simple, fair, and efficient tax on general aviation with complex user fees."

( Read the complete text of Jack Pelton's no user fees speech.)

February 24, 2006