Aviation User-Fee Fight Far From Over

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An effort to eliminate aviation user fees from the Senate's FAA funding proposal came within one vote of succeeding on Wednesday, prompting National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen to note that opposition to user fees is strong and growing. "This remarkable vote shows that opposition to the per-flight user fee is growing among Senators from both sides of the aisle, who are coming to share our concerns about this user fee," Bolen said. AOPA President Phil Boyer sent a similar message to members: "Even this defeat sent a very strong message that AOPA members do not support user fees for any segment of aviation! This is important because we are still in the early stages. This bill will also need action by the Senate Finance Committee before it reaches a vote by the full Senate." He added that this "has been an impressive opening round, and we still have yet to see any action in the House of Representatives." Bolen maintains that the razor-thin margin for the vote adds momentum to the fight against user fees. "We have some real champions for our cause, and we are picking up key supporters in this fight," he pointed out. "The general aviation community recognizes the need for [ATC] modernization…but we also know that user fees represent a step in the wrong direction because they would be very harmful to small and mid-sized businesses and rural communities across the country."