FAA Wants Changes To Funding Structure...

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User Fees? ... Which Users?

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is continuing to call for restructuring of the agency's funding base, a call that sent a chill through many of those attending her Meet the Administrator session at EAA AirVenture last week. In Oshkosh, she used the phrase "User pays also means user says." In a discussion with reporters in Washington, she again raised the specter of user fees. "I think it is very realistic and very important to look at a different set of structures of taxes and fees that ties the cost of the system more closely to the revenue that is coming in," she said, according to The Dallas Morning News. It will be up to Congress to decide what, if any, changes are made but the FAA is acting to help members in their deliberations. Blakey told the reporters that a study is underway to determine how airports and FAA services are used and by whom. The results will be available as the legislators get ready to ponder the bill to reauthorize the agency. Blakey maintains that the Aviation Trust Fund, which is derived from airline ticket revenue, is being depleted because of fare reductions, and that there's a fundamental disconnect between those who finance the fund (passengers) and the FAA. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) did its own study of the fund and determined that it's healthy, but that policy makers had shifted more of the burden for funding the FAA from general revenue to the fund.