The Bush administration's proposed FAA funding bill would be a step backward for smaller general aviation airports, AOPA President Phil Boyer told the Iowa Aviation Conference in Des Moines on April 4.
"The FAA's bill would cut the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) by almost one-third, gutting $1 billion from the program," Boyer said. "It would remove the funding entitlement for the smallest GA airports, and it would reduce the federal matching amount, making it even harder for cash-strapped municipalities to come up with their share of the money for airport improvements."
Boyer also explained to the conference, which included airport managers and government officials, the impact of the proposal on GA pilots.
"Contrary to FAA Administrator Blakey's assertions that a fifty-cent a gallon gas tax increase is 'not a major burden on pilots,' nine out ten AOPA members say that kind of dramatic increase would force them to cut back their flying significantly," said Boyer.
House aviation subcommittee member Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), a pilot and AOPA member, also spoke at both the conference and at an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting that evening.
"The FAA funding bill as it currently exists will not go forward if I have anything to say about," said Boswell. He also announced that he and Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the aviation subcommittee, will conduct an open hangar session in early June for all pilots to voice their opinions on tax increases and user fees.
April 5, 2007