Contacting Congress

February 22, 2007

Contacting Congress

U.S. Capitol

As Phil Boyer covered in his open letter to members, AOPA will be asking members to contact Congress at key times as the FAA funding issue progresses through the legislative process. Experience indicates that this is the best approach because a member of Congress will typically focus on FAA funding when it is coming up for consideration in a committee or by the full House or Senate. Some members have already received a request to write their member of Congress.

But if you haven't and want to do so now, you can do this by making the following points on your personal or business stationery:

  • Introduce yourself by describing how you use your pilot certificate.
  • Express your opposition to the ridiculous fuel tax increase in the FAA plan by explaining what effect the tax on avgas going from the current 19.4 cents per gallon to 70.1 cents per gallon would have on your flying. (For turbine fuel users, the tax would escalate from 21.8 cents per gallon to 70.1 cents per gallon.)
  • Urge them to reject the Bush administration's request for air traffic control user fees for any segment of aviation by explaining that this is a major step toward privatizing the ATC system, placing it in the hands of FAA bureaucrats and the airlines by diminishing, and ultimately eliminating, congressional oversight of the nation's air transportation system. By the FAA's own admission, the system provides the world's safest airspace and handles more than six times the traffic of the next largest air traffic service organization.
  • While the FAA claims that the changes are needed because the current financing system is "broken," share with your representative that, based on projections using Office of Management and Budget data, the FAA can be funded using the existing system of aviation taxes. The radical changes proposed by the FAA are not needed to keep the U.S. aviation system vibrant and successful.
  • Conclude by asking if they will agree to oppose this plan and work with AOPA and others in the general aviation community to develop a reasonable and balanced plan for financing the FAA and modernizing the air traffic control system.

These talking points are helpful, but writing your own personal message is important. It is far better to send a personalized letter than an e-mail on issues like the future of the aviation system. All e-mails look alike, yet letters are unique. Letters emphasize the fact the writer is in the congressional district and often the letterhead illustrates the business and other relevant background of the author.

Please send your letter by fax (the fastest and best way to communicate with Congress), then follow up by mailing a copy. Use these helpful links for information on your members of the House of Representatives or Senate.

Please be sure to fax (301/695-2372) or mail AOPA a copy of any letter you send or response you receive from your representative. Or if you prefer e-mail, click here.

February 22, 2007