FAA Funding Crisis Questioned By Congress

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The FAA position that user fees are the answer to declining resources in the Aviation Trust Fund found little support on Capitol Hill last week, according to AOPA. At a hearing held by the House aviation subcommittee on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects a growing surplus in the fund. "This new information raises questions about the administration's claims that there is a revenue crisis at the FAA," Costello said. The FAA is saying it expects to need as much as $15 billion over the next 15 years to get the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) up and running. According to the FAA, that means more money must come from somewhere. But the CBO report suggests that the current revenue streams will cover it. "User fees are the wrong way to go," said Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.). "It makes it very cumbersome; it gets more expensive. We don't charge user fees to everyone that goes through an intersection with a traffic signal. It's a bit silly to get that specific about the cost."