AOPA Urges Members To Call Influential Senators
After losing a vote at the Senate Commerce Committee, opponents of a Senate bill that would impose a $25-per-flight modernization "surcharge" aimed at business aircraft are hoping for better luck with the Senate's finance committee. A couple of weeks ago, the commerce committee passed, by a single vote, an FAA reauthorization bill that included the $25 user fee. Although the finance committee can't overrule the earlier vote, its position on the bill could be critical when it hits the floor for a full Senate vote. AOPA says it has sent e-mails to all its members in 18 states who have senators on the finance committee, asking them to contact the senators directly to express their opposition. The finance committee is expected to meet on the issue in mid-June and vote before the July 4 break. AOPA President Phil Boyer said the airlines, which favor the surcharge and have also lobbied for further shifting of airspace management costs to general aviation, will throw money at the issue and have already produced a provocative television ad that suggests airline delays are the result of private aircraft getting preferential treatment in the system. But Boyer said that while money talks, senators are more inclined to listen to voters "and that's why we, as pilots passionate about flying and who vote, must be involved. Passionate voters can overcome big money almost every time." Even if you don't have a senator on that committee, you can still get involved. AOPA has launched an online petition opposing user fees for GA.