EAA, AOPA Quick To Blast FAA User-Fee Proposal

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The FAA's new budget proposal could mean a fourfold hike in fuel taxes and "severely threatens the freedom of our country's general aviation community," EAA said on Monday. The proposal would create new user fees for FAA services that today are provided free, says Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. "Such a system will not enhance safety, it will not improve services, and it will add barriers for thousands of recreational aviators while being a costly burden to the federal government," he adds. Fees would be imposed for access to busy airports, aircraft certification and registration, and airman medical certificates. AOPA President Phil Boyer concurred with the grim assessment: "It's going to take an all-out fight by the aviation community to defeat this." President Bush's budget would also slash airport funding by $1 billion, AOPA said. Details of the FAA proposal will be made public later this month. The FAA has no funding shortfall, but wants user fees to replace taxes so it can sidestep the congressional budget process, AOPA said.