On February 14, the Bush Administration released its proposal for changing the funding mechanism for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The "Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007" is no valentine to general aviation, but it certainly is a sweetheart deal for the airlines.
In short, here's what the administration proposal would do:
This isn't about blips, or funding, or whether individual pilots pay enough. It's about creating a radical new way to pay for government safety services and turning control of safety over to private industry. It's about cost, safety, and freedom. It's about preserving general aviation and the freedom of average citizens to fly for business and pleasure.
...want user fees to "match revenue to costs," to eliminate congressional controls on what they spend, and to charge pilots directly for FAA services.
...want to shift some of the costs to support the FAA onto GA, and they want to control the air traffic control system and access to "their" airspace.
...wants to take FAA funding "off budget" by charging user fees to free tax revenue for nonaviation uses
...wants to preserve a robust aviation system that is the envy of the world and that serves all citizens, not just the wealthy.
Congress must take action by October 2007, as the existing authority to collect aviation taxes on fuel, passenger tickets, and air cargo waybills will expire.