House Members Urge Obama: No Aviation User Fees

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One hundred and sixteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter (PDF) to President Barack Obama urging him not to support aviation user fees as a means to fund the FAA's budget for 2012. User fees would be "a step backward" in efforts to modernize the air traffic control system, and would have a "detrimental impact on general aviation and the flying public," the letter states. Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, welcomed the effort. "We thank the Congressional leaders who took this action early in the year to reinforce a clear message of opposition to user fees, and welcome their unwavering support on this issue of critical importance to the entire general aviation community," Bolen said this week. NBAA said the current system of fuel taxes is proven and efficient.

The bipartisan effort was led by Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, and Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., ranking member of the subcommittee. "Their stance demonstrates how well they understand the role and value of general aviation, and all of us in the GA community appreciate their willingness to step forward and address this issue head on," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "They have stood firm and told the Obama Administration that user fees would be bad for general aviation, for our national transportation system, and for the broader economy." A similar letter circulated in 2009 gathered 118 signatures. AOPA said it was "impressive" that the current letter attracted nearly as many supporters, given the significant changes in House membership since the recent election.