FREDERICK, MD - More than half the members of the U.S. House of Representatives put their opposition to aviation user fees on record Friday in a letter sent to President Obama.
“Imposing a $100 per flight user fee on commercial and general aviation is the wrong approach, and we respectfully request that you abandon this idea once and for all,” said the letter signed by 223 members of the House.
The letter, which was spearheaded by House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), as well as General Aviation Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), was sent days before the scheduled release of the President’s 2014 budget proposal. It noted that a user fee has been included in President Obama’s two most recent budgets, but was “overwhelmingly” rejected by Congress each time.
“Rarely do we see so many members of Congress so united on an issue,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “The message is loud and clear—user fees are the wrong way to fund our aviation system and Congress won’t support them.
“We are grateful to all the members of Congress who stepped forward to protect aviation by signing this letter. And we are especially thankful to Reps. LoBiondo, Larsen, Graves, and Barrow for their strong bipartisan leadership on this issue,” Fuller added.
The letter pointed out that the aviation industry is an important economic engine that could be harmed by user fees.
“Commercial and general aviation, including aviation manufacturing, are vital industries in our nation, providing millions of jobs and making important contributions to our economy,” the letter said. “We should work together to support policies that encourage job growth and strengthen U.S. economic activity.”
AOPA has staunchly opposed user fees, noting that pilots and aircraft operators already pay to support the system through fuel taxes. Imposing user fees would require the creation of an expensive new bureaucracy to manage and collect them. In addition, while tax increases must be approved by Congress, no such congressional oversight would be required to raise fees once they are in place.
View a copy of the letter here: http://download.aopa.org/epilot/2013/130405-User-Fee-Letter-to-President.pdf
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, M.D., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
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