AOPA and 16 other industry and trade associations have sent a joint letter asking the House Transportation Committee to provide 25–percent of the FAA’s budget from the general tax fund.
“It is significant that every segment of the aviation community has come together to request important tax payer investment in aviation,” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA’s vice president of legislative affairs.
In the letter, the groups said that FAA funding from the taxes in the General Fund (the taxes we all pay to the government) has long been used as a means of supporting a portion of the nation’s airports, heliports, and airspace infrastructure. As recently as 2003, 25 percent of the FAA’s budget was financed from the General Fund. The companies and members of the signatories said that aerospace industries account for 5.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, and that the aerospace manufacturing produces the highest export surplus in the U.S. economy––$61 billion in 2007 alone. That, the 11 million jobs the industry creates, and much more make for good reasons why monies from the General Fund should continue to flow to the FAA.
Moreover, the letter emphasized that a General Fund contribution of 25–percent will go a long way toward funding the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), which will require an additional $1 billion per year to implement. Moving the General Fund contribution from its current 18–percent back to 25–percent will help generate huge economic and environmental benefits, as well as boost the economy as a whole, the letter said.
It was sent to Rep. Jerry Costello (D–Ill.), chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Rep. John Mica (R–Fla.), ranking member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; as well as Rep. James Oberstar (D–Minn.) and Thomas Petri (R–WI), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.