Senate committee requests AOPA help to pass FAA legislation

July 30, 2003

The Honorable Jim Inhofe
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Inhofe:

I am writing you on behalf of the more than 400,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) 5,011 of who reside in the state of Oklahoma. You will soon face a decision on whether to approve the four-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation, "VISION 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act Conference Report to H.R.2115." Like many pieces of legislation, this bill contains a mix of provisions developed by negotiation and compromise, some favorable to America's general aviation pilots and others that are less than ideal. While we don't like everything about the bill, we ask for your support by voting "yes."

One of the issues key to AOPA members is the legislation's four-year moratorium prohibiting the FAA from transferring the air traffic control system aircraft separation and control functions to any public or private entity, other than the United States government. We are disappointed that the bill stops short of declaring ATC as "inherently governmental," as AOPA's members wanted. This means the issue of privatizing air traffic control will continue to be a distraction for government policy makers and the aviation community.

However, the need for passage of VISION 100 and the important benefits it contains outweigh the limited moratorium on privatization. Some of these areas include funding airport development and important general aviation-specific airport services, preventing closure of airports without federal notification, and providing third-party review for pilots in FAA's security revocation rule. Because of the impending expiration of the current FAA reauthorization legislation and the likelihood that Congress would not be able to devote additional time to the issue, it becomes a "must pass" piece of aviation legislation for the 108th Congress.

As you consider the important question of voting on the Conference Report on H.R.2115, AOPA asks for your yes vote in support of the measure.

Sincerely,

Phil Boyer

July 30, 2003