AOPA President Phil Boyer
and Sen. Conrad Burns
During a meeting Tuesday with Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, AOPA President Phil Boyer reiterated AOPA's dedication to helping reduce the cost of providing critical FAA services and steadfast opposition to user fees.
"The FAA needs to look at its cost structure and get that under control before we even get into a discussion of raising taxes or imposing user fees," Boyer told Burns. "AOPA has supported the FAA's efforts to lower the costs of FSS services and eliminate redundant NDB approaches, and we're anxious to work with Congress and the FAA to find other ways to bring costs in line without compromising general aviation safety."
Boyer reminded Burns that GA currently pays for FAA services through fuel taxes - a system that is transparent to pilots, efficient for the government to collect, and is the appropriate method for the government to collect revenues from aviation users. Most important, the current system promotes GA safety by ensuring that vital services, like air traffic control and weather briefings, are available without additional fees, which could deter some pilots from using them.
The two also discussed general aviation security, including recent incursions into the restricted airspace around Washington, D.C. Despite the incursion that led to the evacuation of the White House and the Capitol two weeks ago, most pilots stay well informed of airspace restrictions and conscientiously abide by them. Even so, Boyer pointed out, the Metropolitan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) creates significant problems for pilots, making it difficult for individuals and companies to conduct business in the greater Washington area.
May 25, 2005