The House of Representatives on May 21 passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2009 (H.R.915). The bill is an authorization that would fund the FAA through 2012 with aviation fuel taxes, ticket taxes, and a general fund contribution.
“H.R.915 relies on the time-tested system of funding that has served our nation well during good and difficult times: aviation fuel taxes, ticket taxes, and a healthy contribution from the general tax fund,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “This is the best way to pay for the nation’s aviation system without stifling general aviation and introducing a costly new bureaucracy.”
In recent years, the FAA has been operating under a series of temporary funding extensions, the latest of which runs through the end of September. The bill passed by the House would provide $70 billion for FAA programs between fiscal years 2009 and 2012.
AOPA strongly supports H.R.915, which is nearly identical to a bill that passed the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate last year. The bill includes a moderate increase in taxes on GA fuel but would not impose user fees.
Once again, the House of Representatives along with the support of the Ways and Means Committee (which has jurisdiction over all taxes) followed the recommendations from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and AOPA to continue the existing financing mechanism with increases in the GA fuel taxes. The bill would raise taxes from 19.3 cents per gallon to 24.1 cents per gallon for aviation gas and from 21.8 cents per gallon to 35.9 cents per gallon for noncommercial jet fuel. The increase in fuel taxes would go toward the modernization of the air traffic control system. The Transportation Committee has consistently rejected user fees on any segment of aviation as an option for FAA funding.
H.R.915 will now go to the U.S. Senate. While the Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee has held two hearings on FAA reauthorization, no reauthorization bill has been introduced in the Senate.