...FAA Says It's All Part Of The Process

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FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the Federal Register document is a continuation of the process started with a forum held earlier this year in which stakeholder groups were asked to come up with alternative methods of funding the FAA. He said there's a genuine desire on the part of the FAA to design a funding structure that has the support of stakeholders and, at this stage, all options, including user fees, must be open. "You can't immediately start removing questions from the table," he said. Dancy said one of AOPA's concerns is that the process seems to be reaching an advanced stage quickly in a kind of political vacuum. Because the trust fund authorization doesn't run out until 2007, the current Congress has no jurisdiction. The Congress formed after next year's mid-term elections will have the responsibility. That means that groups like AOPA can't go over the FAA's head to Congress now to try and halt the process. "The fact that they're making such a strong push [for user fees] so early causes serious concern," Dancy said.