User Fees Return In New Budget Plan

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image: NBAA

image: NBAA

A new federal budget plan released by the White House on Tuesday includes a proposal to "establish a surcharge for air traffic services of $100 per flight." NBAA President Ed Bolen said similar proposals in the last three budgets were stopped when the aviation community mobilized and asked elected officials to oppose the fees. "There is bipartisan opposition to user fees on Capitol Hill," Bolen said. NBAA will continue working with leaders in Congress, he said, "to support FAA funding and aviation system modernization without user fees for general aviation, so that our nation's aviation system can remain the world’s largest, safest and most efficient." General aviation already pays for its use of the aviation system through the fuel tax, Bolen added.

The budget proposal says the user fee would "more equitably distribute the cost of air traffic services across the aviation user community." All piston-powered aircraft would be exempt form the fee, as would military aircraft, aircraft operated by government agencies, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside controlled airspace, and aircraft flying from Canada to Canada. The $3.9 trillion budget proposal covers the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

GAMA President Pete Bunce also said on Tuesday he is "extremely disappointed" by the user-fee proposal. He added that "we are encouraged that the administration proposes making the R&D tax credit permanent," saying the credit will spur the development of new innovations.