User-fee Issue Looms Large

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AOPA didnít comment directly on the content of the DOT OIG memo, but said itís an indication of the way things may shape up in coming months in Washington. AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy said the OIG study came at the request of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., last summer and AOPA knew it was coming. Dancy said the Government Accountability Office is undertaking a similar study. ďTaken together, the two studies indicate the significance both the Administration and Congress place on the FAA Reauthorization bill, and reinforce AOPA's resolve to defend general aviation by preventing a shift of user fees or an excessive increase in taxes,Ē Dancy told AVweb. [more] AOPA, the National Business Aviation Association, EAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association have formed a united front in the past year to battle what appears to be a determined effort by the FAA, with backing from the airlines, to fundamentally alter the funding mechanism of the FAA. The shift seems to especially target business aviation and the references to jet fuel in the OIG memo seem to back that up. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has suggested that avgas-powered aviation sectors will not be significantly affected by the proposed funding structure, but the leaders of aviation groups say it would only be a matter of time before that sector is targeted.