Blakey Mum On Future Funding

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At the May 4 hearing, Blakey was grilled repeatedly on the agency's plan to overhaul the funding basis for the FAA. For more than a year, Blakey has been saying revenue sources need to be based on the costs of providing services (read: user fees) but she hasn't revealed any details about how that system might work. AOPA's Boyer says implementing user fees is simply a method to cut Congress out of the decision-making loop and hand control of the airspace system over to the airlines. He also told AVweb in an AVweb podcast earlier this month that any step toward user fees in other countries has historically been just the beginning of an industry-wide trend. At the May 4 hearing, Blakey did say that the current system of fuel taxes seems to work for GA but she declined to elaborate. Blakey said the new funding formula is being reviewed by the White House. She said there are ways to measure use of services and attach fees accordingly and they've already been implemented in other countries. Authority for the fuel taxes and ticket taxes that now fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund runs out in 2007 and any system to replace them would have to be in place before then -- after receiving approval from Congress.