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No user fees, no airline tax cut; general aviation-backed FAA re-authorization bill advances in House

The House Ways and Means Committee has passed a bill advancing H.R. 2881, the FAA funding bill endorsed by AOPA and the general aviation community.

"H.R. 2881 is the framework of the best solution for all of aviation, and we're delighted that the Ways and Means Committee concurred with the recommendations of the Transportation Committee," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This bill ensures that there will be more than enough money to pay for air traffic control modernization.

"And the best news for GA - no user fees, and no concessions to the airlines."

The Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, voted September 18 to keep airline taxes, including the airline fuel tax, at existing levels. Aviation gasoline taxes would increase from 19.3 to 24.1 cents per gallon (an increase roughly equal to inflation since the last fuel tax adjustment), and the Jet-A tax would go from 21.8 to 35.9 cents per gallon. Money from the increased taxes on GA fuel would be earmarked exclusively for air traffic control modernization. (The committee passed H.R.3539, which actually modifies the tax code. The bill becomes companion legislation to H.R.2881.)

"We said from the beginning, take user fees off the table and we'll discuss whether there should be an adjustment in what GA pays," said Boyer. "General aviation is willing to pay more to improve the air traffic control system, unlike the airlines who wanted to change the entire FAA funding system to obtain a huge tax cut for themselves."

The bill now goes to the Rules Committee and then to the House floor, with a final vote possibly within days. The Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider its version of an FAA funding bill this week, although final action in the Senate may be weeks away.

The Ways and Means Committee also passed a short-term extension of the current funding authorization to allow time to complete action on new FAA funding legislation.

"We thank Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-La.) for their leadership in providing the money needed to maintain and improve our aviation system," said Boyer.

AOPA and its more than 413,000 members are committed to finding a common-sense solution that will pay to modernize America's air traffic control system - the safest and most efficient in the world - while preserving the world's most vibrant general aviation community.

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Editors: AOPA provides two important resources for covering general aviation news - an online newsroom and a television studio and uplink. Contact us for more information.

September 18, 2007

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