...The Fee Factor...

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"Tying fees to the cost of providing service protects both FAA and the customers who use FAA services," Blakey said. "We also believe that a cost-based revenue structure would provide incentives to our customers to use limited resources efficiently and to the FAA to operate efficiently, as stakeholder involvement can help us ensure that we are concentrating on services that the customer wants and is willing to pay for." But, Blakey said, those fees don't necessarily have to be user fees. "I want to be clear. I am not at this point advocating user fees, or endorsing new excise taxes, or urging debt financing, or seeking a bigger share of the General Fund." Blakey said there are many different ways to achieve the goal of a cost-based funding structure. "I am saying that we have an opportunity in the near future for positive change and we need to begin the discussion now. We need to have a funding mechanism that ensures our costs and revenues are aligned."