AOPA Warns User Fees Could Reduce Oversight Of FAA

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The way the FAA now is funded, Congress has some control over the purse strings. But if the agency gets it way and user fees and privatization prevail, that important oversight function could be wrested from the hands of elected officials, AOPA warns. AOPA made its comments last week in response to an FAA document on funding ATC and other critical components of the nation's aviation system. "Instead of imposing user fees to fill perceived shortfalls, the FAA should work with the aviation community to find cost savings by eliminating FAA services that are no longer needed and to identify creative ways to fund the capital improvements needed to modernize the air traffic control system," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The FAA must be very careful not to advance funding policies that would dismantle the air transportation network," he added. "Virtually every citizen in the country benefits from this system that is so crucial to the nation's economy -- whether or not they ever fly." AOPA has argued that user fees would disproportionately impact general aviation pilots, who are the only system users who must pay out of their own pockets, while the airlines can transfer their costs to passengers. AOPA's comments were filed in response to a document titled "Questions on Future Funding of the Air Traffic Control System, Other Aviation System Components, and Related Issues" that was recently published in the Federal Register.