...Fees Can Be Costly Too...

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While some of the attendees, Boyer included, came away with the impression that user fees are the favored option, the National Business Aviation Association's position is that the current system of fuel taxes is perhaps the most fair. "There's no simpler and more accurate way to distinguish between heavy and light users of the system than to measure the amount of fuel burned," President Ed Bolen said. He also noted that the introduction of user fees would require establishment of another bureaucracy to administer, bill and collect the money. He claimed it cost some user-fee-based agencies in Europe up to $125 to process each transaction. And while opinions varied on revenue creation, there was virtual unanimity on the need for the FAA to get control of spending. EAA representative Doug Macnair said the FAA must get its house in order. "With user fees, we are talking about giving another blank check to a system of procurement that has proven itself to be inept," he said. Besides, Macnair said, we don't even know what the future National Airspace System (NAS) will (or should) look like so the funding discussions are premature. Macnair said GA associations "are unanimously opposed to the implementation of user fees, especially in the absence of cost controls, accountability and a clear road map for the future of the NAS."