NATA Says Fuel Taxes, Not (More) User Fees

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The National Air Transportation Association says the current system of fuel taxes is the fairest way to raise money for the FAA. Last month, the agency sent out a questionnaire to aviation groups, saying the current system needs to be replaced with a funding formula that links revenue to use of the system. The questions seemed heavily slanted toward the implementation of user fees and NATA says that would be a mistake. "It is critical that both Congress and the FAA are aware that overall, a system of user fees could add greater confusion and inefficiency to the air transportation system, cause a bureaucratic nightmare for both government and industry, jeopardize safety and ultimately result in less revenue than in the current system," said NATA President James Coyne. NATA has always maintained that the fuel tax is the most equitable system because, in general, the more fuel that is burned, the more access is required to the airspace system. If, as seems inevitable, the FAA goes to a system of user fees, NATA wants all aircraft to be treated equally. And that, says Coyne, means equal access for all, particularly when it comes to setting up restricted airspace, which often allows scheduled carriers to continue operations but bars GA and charters.