...Blakey On The Up Side Of User Fees...

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The Administrator also began preparing the audience for coming changes in how FAA will get its funding, with broad hints that user fees may indeed be on the horizon. Money in the aviation trust fund is running dangerously low, she said. The problem is that there is no real link between the services that are provided and the money that comes in. "We need a stable funding system. And user pays also means user says," she said. That is, users who are paying in to support a system, also get a seat at the table in determining how that system is run. "This must be equitable to all stakeholders," she said. Blakey also said that more needs to be done to improve safety, and in an effort to gather better data on how many hours GA aircraft fly and for what uses, the FAA will soon conduct a detailed nationwide survey of 75,000 aircraft owners -- that's about one-third of all U.S. owners. The data collected is intended for use to help improve the accuracy of accident-rate statistics.