User Fee Debate Continues In D.C.

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While Peters was in Wichita, AOPA President Phil Boyer was in Washington, D.C., speaking out against aviation user fees during a panel discussion at an air traffic control conference. The topic: what's "fair" when it comes to paying for the air traffic control system? "Grandma in seat 28B should only have to pay her fair share," said Sharon Pinkerton, a spokeswoman for the airlines. But Boyer countered: "Should grandma have to pay the true cost to get a first-class letter to Alaska, rather than 39 cents? Should highway users in New York help pay for an interstate highway in Montana?" Boyer said the air traffic control system is built to meet the peak demands of the airlines, and general aviation uses the excess capacity. For example, some airports have a control tower simply because two airline flights a day operate from the airport. Without those two flights, there would be no tower. "It's certainly not fair to impose a tower on us, then claim we're not paying our fair share," said Boyer.