Alaska takes firm stance on user fees, fuel tax increases

May 14, 2007

Alaska takes firm stance on user fees, fuel tax increases

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on May 11 signed a resolution in opposition to the FAA's plan to increase avgas fuel taxes, impose user fees, and slash airport funding.

The AOPA-supported resolution, sponsored by state Rep. Kyle Johansen, worked its way through the legislature after encountering opposition by the airlines. House Joint Resolution 18 points out the harsh economic impact the FAA's plan would have on the state's economy.

"We were pleased to work with the sponsor and the Alaska Airmen's Association to see this through," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "In a state where general aviation is so important, Alaskans are saying clearly that they don't want user fees of any kind."

This comes after the U.S. Senate drafted its own FAA funding bill that would impose a $25 per flight charge for turbine-powered aircraft. Although the bill does have its positive aspects - such as more airport funding - AOPA members fear that once the federal government starts charging user fees on one segment, it opens the door for the rest of aviation.

Alaska has six times as many pilots per capita and 16 times as many aircraft per capita as the rest of the United States. With the lack of roads and extreme conditions, people depend on general aviation for emergencies, mail, and supplies. Some students even get to school by using GA.

May 14, 2007