Senate Finance Committee Rejects User Fees

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The Senate Finance Committee has approved the "American Infrastructure and Investment Act" as part of Congress's FAA reauthorization process. The Act in part uses an increase in fuel taxes as a source of additional funding for the FAA and its infrastructure modernization efforts. The move was lauded by NBAA, because it does not include the $25-per-leg user fee that the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was endorsing. "We agree with the Committee that everyone should support the NextGen effort, and that the best way for general aviation to contribute is by 'paying at the pump,'" said NBAA CEO, Ed Bolen. (Be sure to listen to Bolen's comments on the bill in Monday's audiocast).

Bolen emphasized the role of Committee members Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in moving ahead with a "proven, reliable, and ultra-efficient" system of raising revenue. The full Senate still has to vote on this and it could be several weeks before that happens. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed its version of the legislation but it contains a red herring that could cause trouble down the road. The House bill includes a requirement that the FAA's imposed contract on the National Air Traffic Controllers Association be re-opened and the two sides head back to the bargaining table. The Administration is apparently adamantly opposed to that scenario.