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An important member of Congress who approves FAA spending has drawn a clear line in the sand: No general aviation user fees.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) told an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting audience in Wichita Wednesday night via video, "If FAA plans call for user fees for general aviation, they will not have my support. In fact, I will work against any effort to impose user fees on general aviation."
"That should be a pretty clear message to the Bush administration," AOPA President Phil Boyer explained to the pilots gathered in Wichita, "because Rep. Tiahrt sits on the transportation subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. He and his colleagues literally write the check for the FAA. If Congress says 'no' to user fees, as they have in the past, the fees won't happen. Period."
In his videotaped message for the Pilot Town Meeting in his hometown, Rep. Tiahrt acknowledged that budgets are tight, "but transportation funding remains an important priority."
Responding to the administration's proposal to cut almost a billion dollars from airport funding, Tiahrt said, "We can't jeopardize the national transportation system by ignoring needed safety improvements at airports."
And he made a very strong point that any changes to the FAA's funding structure "would need congressional approval."
"Through the years, general aviation's friends in Congress have helped us defeat every user fee proposal," said Boyer. "Rep. Tiahrt fired yet another shot across the bow. User fee proponents are going to have a fight in Congress."
February 23, 2006