AOPA Launches Preemptive Strike

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Last week AOPA President Phil Boyer was in Washington, D.C., to brief the national media on the dark days that lie ahead if FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and the Bush administration hold sway on user fees. Boyer told the National Press Club that the real agenda is to cut Congress out of the decision-making process and to hand the National Airspace System over to the airlines. "They are attempting an end-around of Congress to put the world's safest, most efficient and largest air traffic control system into the hands of airline barons who've flown their own businesses into bankruptcy," Boyer said. As backup, Boyer brought along Ken Mead, the former Department of Transportation inspector general. [more] Mead told reporters that Congress has stepped in to derail misguided FAA initiatives, like the microwave landing system and the advanced automation system, projects that had gone far over budget and were out of control. "You need the checks and balances of the U.S. Congress," said Mead.