User fee opponents on the move again in Congress

March 6, 2013

General aviation’s allies in the House of Representatives are wasting no time making sure that any proposal to implement aviation user fees runs into the customary—and overwhelming—resistance in Congress.

The Republican chairman and top Democrat on the House aviation subcommittee, and the co-chairs of the House GA Caucus, have mounted a new campaign to recruit their colleagues to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, “to express our strong opposition to your continued support of a $100 per flight fee on commercial and general aviation.”

Congress nixed the administration’s two previous attempts to implement user fees, consistent with its overwhelming rejection of numerous user-fee proposals in the past, the letter says.

House aviation subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), and GA Caucus co-chairs Sam Graves (R-Mo.), and John Barrow (D-Ga.) are urging their colleagues to send a signal that user fees would still devastate a struggling general aviation industry.

Last year, 195 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter opposing user fees. Of those, 155 have returned to Congress in 2013.

“With budget deliberations for FY2014 soon to begin, we invite you to join us in sending a similar letter to the President to reiterate our position,” the four leaders wrote to colleagues to invite them to sign the letter.

Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs, urges AOPA members to contact their member of Congress as soon as possible, to let them know that user fees are a bad idea—they are inefficient, expensive to administer, and can compromise safety. Members are encouraged to politely ask them to join LoBiondo, Larsen, Graves, and Barrow by signing the letter to the president opposing aviation user fees. Members can enter their zip code on the House home page to find their representative and contact information.

“We are extremely appreciative of the efforts of these four prominent leaders of this letter,” Howerton said. “Because of their leadership we will once again be sending a strong signal to the administration that user fees will not work and they will not be supported. And we are extremely appreciative of our members who will contact their member of Congress to encourage them to sign onto the letter or to simply thank their member of Congress who already has signed. Together we will make a difference and ensure our freedom to fly.”