By AOPA Communications staff
AOPA President Phil Boyer joined Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on May 1 to stress the need for key tax provisions in the pending FAA funding bill.
Sen. Baucus urged the Senate to move quickly to pass a comprehensive FAA bill with aviation fuel taxes going toward improving air traffic control. “Our air traffic system is way overdue for an upgrade,” he said. “We deserve a safer, more reliable air traffic control system now.”
“The bipartisan legislation we put together established the federal funding needed to continue investing in America’s transportation system,” Sen. Grassley added. “It means securing the next generation of air traffic control technology; increasing safety with modernized runways, aprons, and terminals; and easing congestion.”
This comes after the White House made threats about vetoing any bill that does not include user fees and does not give the airlines greater control over the air traffic control system.
On behalf of AOPA, Boyer thanked Sens. Baucus and Grassley for their leadership in crafting an FAA reauthorization bill that ensures modernization of the air traffic control system, provides needed funds for airport improvement, and enhances safety.
“But of most importance to all our members, their bill does this through the current system of aviation taxes that have generated a stable and reliable funding stream for 40 years,” Boyer said. “We are also pleased that this bill will continue the nation’s investment in our airport infrastructure.
“With the airlines serving less than 600 airports nationwide, a number that continues to decline, the 5,400 public-use general aviation airports serving the rest of America become increasingly more important,” Boyer added. “The leadership of this committee knows the importance of general aviation, particularly in their two states without a major hub airline airport. Through their actions in the finance committee, we are pleased that the full Senate will recognize the importance of general aviation to moving America and our economy.”
May 1, 2008