Anti-User Fee Chorus Grows Down On The Farm

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The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has joined the juggernaut of opposition to the FAA's funding proposal, saying it's nothing more than a bailout of airlines on the backs of small-town America. In a news release, NFU President Pat Buis said the plan to more than triple the existing general aviation fuel tax will have a direct impact on rural residents. "Local airfields often provide the fastest and most efficient means of transportation because the big corporate airlines concentrate most of their service at only the nation's largest airports," Buis said. "The FAA proposal to impose user fees and tax increases will deal a heavy blow to farmers and rural communities who depend on general aviation—for this reason we are strongly opposing user fees and new taxes in any form." Also joining the chorus is the Alaska State legislature. The Alaska House unanimously passed a resolution opposing the proposal and the city of Cordova has also chipped in with its own resolution. Alaska has more aircraft and pilots per capita, by far, than any other state and AOPA spokesman Andy Cebula said the state's actions send an important message to Washington. "This sends a strong message from an important aviation state and a local community within that state that user fees and a near quadrupling of aviation fuel taxes is a bad idea," said Cebula, AOPA's executive vice president of government affairs. "It comes at a critical time as Congress is drafting its version of the FAA funding bill."