President Clinton on Thursday signed an executive order creating the "Air Traffic Organization," a so-called "performance-based organization" inside the FAA that will run the air traffic control system. The president also called on Congress to finance ATC with "cost-based charges on commercial users of the air traffic system," replacing existing excise taxes with user fees.
"AOPA remains strongly opposed to user fees for any sector of the aviation community," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "There is no financial crisis. Thanks to AIR-21, Congress has provided the FAA sufficient funds to modernize the air traffic control system."
Boyer noted that Congress must approve any changes to air traffic control funding. Congress has rejected user fee proposals for the past seven years.
"The administration, in its eleventh hour, is trying yet again to resurrect pieces of its USATS (U.S. Air Traffic Services Corporation) proposal," said Boyer. "User fees won't reduce airline delays, but they will increase ticket costs for many airline passengers, particularly those flying on 'low-cost' carriers. Aviation excise taxes remain the most efficient way to generate sufficient funds for FAA operations."
December 7, 2000