House Passes Its Version of FAA Bill

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There have been backslaps all around about the Houseís convincing 267-151 vote to essentially maintain the status quo on the way the FAA is funded. In rapid succession, the Ways and Means Committee, the Rules Committee and the full House rejected user fees as a method of funding the Next Generation Airspace System (NextGen) and instead allocated modest increases in aviation fuel taxes to that effort. The House vote was considered a slam dunk by most aviation leaders but things get more interesting with the Senate. The Senate bill is much more airline-friendly and contains the $25-per-flight user fee for turbine-powered GA aircraft that has been described in somewhat colorful terms in off-the-record comments by GA leaders. But what it all boils down to is the creation of a bureaucracy to collect the fees, and itís highly unlikely the $25 fee, if approved, will be the first and last cut. With the National Business Aviation Association convention set to start on Tuesday, expect some serious attention being paid to the Senate deliberations, which could start anytime.