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FAA Funding Debate - Contacting CongressFAA Funding Debate - Contacting Congress

AOPA FAA Funding Debate

Contacting Congress

U.S. CapitolAOPA will be asking members to contact Congress at key times as the FAA funding issue progresses through the legislative process. Experience indicates that this is the best approach because a member of Congress will typically only focus on FAA funding when it comes up for consideration by a committee that he sits on, or when it is finally referred to the floor for a vote by the full House or Senate. AOPA has already asked some members to contact their representatives. Some 135,000 AOPA members were asked May 15 to contact their senators serving on the Commerce aviation subcommittee to support an amendment that would have stripped user fees from the Senate's FAA funding bill. And we came within one vote of winning.

But the FAA funding bills will go through at least a dozen steps before the final vote, meaning that there will be many more times when AOPA will ask specific members to weigh in.

Should you wish to contact your senator or congressman on your own, we suggest you make the following points on your personal or business stationary.

  • Introduce yourself by describing how you use your pilot certificate.
  • Express your opposition to user fees on any segment of aviation, explaining that user fees will inevitably trickle down to all of aviation and likely lead to the privatization of the air traffic control system.
  • Say that excise taxes are the best way for all aviation users to support the system, and that the GAO and the DOT Inspector General have concluded that the current tax system will generate adequate funds for system modernization.
  • Urge them to maintain federal airport funding at no less than the current level of $3.7 billion annually.
  • State that you believe Congress must maintain its oversight of the FAA.
  • Because of the benefits the air transportation system provides to all citizens, say that the general fund should continue to provide at least 21.5 percent of the FAA's budget.
  • Reiterate that there is no place for user fees in the world's largest, safest, most efficient air transportation system.
  • Conclude by asking if they will agree to oppose user fees and work with AOPA and others in the general aviation community to develop a reasonable and balanced plan for financing the FAA and modernizing the air traffic control system.

These talking points are helpful, but writing your own personal message is important. It is far better to send a personalized letter than an e-mail on issues like the future of the aviation system. All e-mails look alike, yet letters are unique. Letters emphasize the fact the writer is in the congressional district and often the letterhead illustrates the business and other relevant background of the author.

Please send your letter by fax (the fastest and best way to communicate with Congress), then follow up by mailing a copy. Use these helpful links for information on your members of the House of Representatives or Senate.

Please be sure to fax (301/695-2372) or mail AOPA a copy of any letter you send or response you receive from your representative. Or if you prefer e-mail, click here.

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