...Mineta Favors Fuel Tax...

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Although the immediate urgency lies with the ADIZ controversy, perhaps the most important (and jubilantly received) statement by Mineta was that he believes a fuel tax, and not user fees for GA, is the way to increase and stabilize revenue for the FAA. "I can tell you right now from my perspective [the solution] will not be user fees," he told the crowd. AOPA and other GA groups have been pushing for a fuel tax as the most equitable way of apportioning the cost of the system to those who use it. Although Boyer welcomed Mineta's position, he cautioned that there's a lot of detail left to be filled in. Boyer pointed out that Mineta knew he was talking to a predominantly piston-single crowd and wondered just what the Secretary's definition of general aviation includes. "Does that mean all of GA? GA is a huge universe," he told AVweb. "Does 'no user fees' mean that whole spectrum?" Meanwhile, Boyer said the airlines are lobbying hard to make GA pay more. He said their position is that, regardless of the size of aircraft, direct costs should be assessed to each aircraft based on the number of departures and time in the system. "That means a VLJ (very light jet) would pay as much as a 747 for the same flight," he said.