By Warren D. Morningstar
While the FAA funding issue took a holiday break along with Congress, now that the Senate is back in session, user fees are once again on the table.
That’s because the Senate has yet to reconcile its two versions of an FAA funding bill; the “tax bill” (S.2345) from the Finance Committee, and the “authorization bill” (S.1300) out of the Commerce Committee. AOPA and the general aviation community are adamantly opposed to the $25-per-flight user fee on turbine aircraft in S.1300.
The two bills have to be combined in a vote by the full Senate, but Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t schedule that until the Finance and Commerce committees resolve their differences. Meanwhile, the extension of the current aviation taxes and approval for FAA spending expires on Feb. 29.
“We continue to lobby the Senate to act on an FAA funding bill, without user fees, to match the bill the House passed last September,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “Because the FAA cannot spend Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds right now, the lack of action is having a significant effect on the system, including projects critical to safety. We don’t want another extension, we need a bill.”
January 31, 2008