There's a growing swell against general aviation user fees in Congress, thanks in part to AOPA's continued education and advocacy work. Now another congressman has voiced his opposition to the idea.
"If a general aviation user fee is what the FAA has in mind, they won't get my support," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in a video presentation to an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting this week in San Diego. (Rep. Issa is a pilot and AOPA member, and he was instrumental in keeping Oceanside Airport open).
Meanwhile, AOPA's Andy Cebula, executive vice president of government affairs, was shining a spotlight on the fiction that there is an FAA funding shortfall before an audience of state aviation directors and FAA officials in Kansas City, Missouri, this same week. "The fact is there is no funding crisis justifying the implementation of user fees on general aviation," said Cebula. "We crunched the data. The money is there."
Rep. Issa, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), also blasted the Bush Administration's plan to cut $1 billion from airport funding. Almost all of that would be cut from funds for GA airports.
"We cannot jeopardize the nation's transportation system by ignoring needed safety and capacity improvements at our airports," said Issa. He pledged to work with his colleagues in the House to ensure the administration's budget proposal doesn't pass.
Sen. Boxer said, "I will fight to ensure that airports receive the support that they need. That means opposing the Administration's dangerous cuts to the Airport Improvement Program."
In a video message played at AOPA Pilot Town Meetings in California this week, Boxer acknowledged the importance of GA in the state.
"Whether it's recreation or traffic or helping law enforcement, general aviation plays such a critical role in our economy and our daily lives," she said. "And that's especially true in California, which has some of the largest and fastest growing GA airports in the country."
Boxer also complimented AOPA's Airport Watch Program and GA pilots' involvement in protecting security. "Thank you for working on the front lines to protect America's airports," said the senator.
May 25, 2006