White House: No user fees, no signature

April 30, 2008

Stay on top of the issue with our funding wrap-up >>

White House: No user fees, no signature

By AOPA ePublishing staff

As the Senate began debate on the FAA funding bill in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, that same spirit apparently didn’t extend to the White House.

The president’s top advisors made it very clear on April 29 that if Congress sends him a bill that does not include user fees, and does not give the airlines greater control over the air traffic control system, they want him to veto the FAA funding legislation.

The White House once again cited its failed FAA funding bill as the model, and said the legislation currently under consideration by Congress does not align “FAA’s revenues with its costs through fair fees linked to usage of the system,” nor does it include “a broader set of aviation stakeholders in the oversight and management” of the air traffic control system. (Administration proposals would give the majority users of air traffic control—the airlines—also majority say in ATC management.)

The “Statement of Administration Policy” also objected to increased Airport Improvement Program funding and took issue with the labor provisions in the House version of the FAA funding bill. “If the President is presented with a bill that not only excludes the critical reforms proposed by the Administration, but also includes provisions that would further exacerbate an untenable status quo, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it,” according to the policy.

“We’re extremely disappointed that the administration continues clinging to discredited funding concepts that have no popular support from either the public or their elected representatives,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “The aviation industry and both parties in Congress are very close to reasonable compromises that ensure the future of the aviation system. For the administration to put that all at risk at this point is incomprehensible.”

The Senate is expected to finish its version of an FAA funding bill this week. The House version was passed last September. Existing aviation taxes and FAA funding will expire June 30 if a new funding bill is not signed into law before then.

April 30, 2008