Program For Rural Development Could Disappear

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National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President James Coyne also criticized the budget, saying it "has wrongly short-changed America's air transportation system." The budget would completely eliminate the Small Community Air Service Program, NATA said, which promotes development of air service for rural America. He also expressed opposition to user fees, which seem to be increasingly pushed by the administration as an alternative to the Trust Fund system. "User fees are the wrong way to raise revenues to fund the air traffic control system and have the potential to wreak havoc on the general aviation industry," he said. DOT Secretary Norm Mineta last week spoke about the need to replace the Aviation Trust Fund with a "more stable and predictable revenue stream" that would create "a more direct relationship between revenues collected and services provided." AOPA contends that the current system generates enough money to improve airports and aviation infrastructure and fund a well-managed, efficient FAA. The budget also includes cuts for aeronautics research.