Sen. Trent Lott
While GA leaders were dissing user fees in Oshkosh Tuesday, there was another user fee debate of a sort going on in the U.S. Senate. And Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) came to the defense of general aviation and the current FAA funding system.
The discussion in the Senate Commerce Committee aviation subcommittee was on system modernization and how to pay for it. Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said that there must be "an unconstrained funding mechanism," echoing some of the arguments of the FAA and airline industry for a change from the current tax system.
But Sen. Lott disagreed, saying that some transportation funding should come from the general fund (roughly 25 percent of the FAA's current budget is from the general fund), "because this is of interest to the general public."
He said the FAA can call for new fees, but Congress is "not going to do new fees.... We need to come to terms that we need to put money in [modernization], and it'll come from the general treasury."
July 26, 2006