March 21, 2007
Appearing before the House aviation subcommittee March 21, Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) voiced their concerns about the negative impact that the FAA's funding proposal would have on the economy, safety, and future of general aviation in their states.
Barrow, an AOPA member, requested that the subcommittee focus on a plan to modernize the air transportation system and determine the costs associated with the project before discussing a new funding structure.
"The administration proposes to dismantle the current funding mechanism and tax structure that have built the safest, most efficient air traffic control system in the world," said Barrow. "I urge the subcommittee to insist that the FAA present a modernization plan, including timetables, milestones, and its estimated cost, before they initiate a debate on funding."
In addition, Barrow commented on the lack of congressional oversight that FAA has proposed.
"Giving the FAA the right to set user fees is a blank check, and it would totally remove congressional oversight from the funding and governance of our nation's air traffic control system," he said.
Tiahrt appeared as a representative of what he referred to as "the Air Capital of the World."
"The discussion we are having today regarding the [FAA's] financing proposal is probably the most important discussion in Congress this year to my district," said Tiahrt. "If the FAA proposal is adopted, it would devastate the economy of south-central Kansas. I believe that it will have a devastating effect on the national economy as well."
Rep. Tiahrt went on to oppose the idea of a new funding system to replace the current one that has worked efficiently for nearly four decades.
"General aviation has always contributed to the aviation trust fund through fuel taxes that are easily collected and efficiently administered," he said. "User fees would necessitate the establishment of another government bureaucracy to administer a system that, in comparison to fuel taxes, would be an inefficient mechanism to collect revenue."
Following testimony by the two representatives, AOPA President Phil Boyer and other aviation industry leaders testified before the subcommittee.
March 21, 2007
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