FAA FY08 Budget Calls For User Fees

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The White House released the Fiscal Year 2008 budget amid fanfare on Monday morning, but general aviation groups aren’t jumping for joy. In the DOT budget breakdown, the FAA allotment includes $175 million for a 21st Century satellite navigation system to replace older air traffic control equipment and $900 million in additional air traffic control system upgrades, but it also includes an expected user-fee proposal. "The [Bush] Administration will transmit a reauthorization proposal in 2007 that transforms the FAA’s excise tax financing system to a cost-based system that recovers most of costs of air traffic services through user fees," the document states. NBAA quickly rapped the Bush Administration for the move: "After more than a year of intense lobbying by the nation's big airlines, the White House has decided to introduce a budget that shifts airline costs to other segments of the industry and gives airlines more control over the air traffic system. NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community will oppose this toxic mix of higher taxes, new fees and airline control. The fact is the current approach to funding and oversight of the aviation system is effective and efficient -- there is no need for radical 'fixes' like those proposed in this budget."