By AOPA ePublishing staff
The Senate appears to be making progress on a long-anticipated FAA funding bill. The legislation could move to the Senate floor for debate as early as next week.
AOPA recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), thanking him for his commitment to moving FAA funding legislation through Congress. AOPA pointed out its objection to user fees—no matter how small—on any segment of aviation. Those fees tend to trickle down to other segments of aviation as they have done in other countries.
In May 2007, the Senate Commerce Committee passed S.1300, which contains a $25-per-flight user fee on turbine aircraft. The Senate Finance Committee later last year took a different approach and passed a bill (S.2345), which would keep the current excise-based tax funding mechanism in place but increase taxes on general aviation jet fuel. It would use money from the tax increase to fund air traffic control modernization.
In its letter, AOPA also urged the Senate to adopt the provisions of S.2345 in lieu of the $25 user fee contained in S.1300.
The House of Representatives, meanwhile, already passed its FAA bill (H.R.2881) last year. AOPA supported H.R.2881, which contains no user fees but does increase general aviation fuel taxes. Money from the increased taxes on GA fuel would be dedicated to ATC modernization.
Once the full Senate approves a bill, leadership from both the House and Senate will appoint members to a conference committee. That committee will iron out the differences between the two bills.
April 22, 2008