Here We Go Again - FAA Budget Back In Play

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The federal Transportation Department this week released the latest version of its budget request, including user-fee-based funding for the FAA, and reaction has been swift. "What part of 'NO!' doesn’t the White House understand?" asked AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Once again, the Bush administration wants huge new taxes and user fees imposed on general aviation, and it wants to slash and burn the Airport Improvement Program." Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, agreed. "Despite Congress saying 'no' to the Administration's proposal to scrap the current funding mechanism for a less efficient one that imposes user fees, they have once again launched an effort to complete a FAA reauthorization bill by proposing the exact same failed plan," he said. DOT Secretary Mary Peters insisted the system needs to change. "Traditional approaches are not capable of producing the results we need to keep America's economy growing," she said.

Meanwhile, Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell gave a "terse defense" of the administration's decision to recycle a reauthorization proposal that failed last year in Congress, wrote The Wall Street Journal. "There are no changes," Sturgell said.