User Fees Would Generate Less Income

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The FAA's proposed reauthorization legislation, the Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007, revealed Wednesday, claims a new financing structure is necessary for the FAA to build an efficient and safe air transportation system for the future. Airlines and air travelers would pay less, but operators of business and general aviation aircraft would pay more. "Our proposal will make it easier for airports, airlines and controllers to keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for air travel," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, in a news release. "With over a billion passengers expected in the air by 2015, we have to act now or risk gridlock in our skies and on our taxiways." Yet the plan shows that under the proposed change to user fees, total revenue for the agency would actually decline. The FAA's data shows that the new proposal would yield $600 million less in FY2008 than the current tax structure and over $900 million less from FY2009 to FY2012, according to Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation. The proposal also includes changes to the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which has long been a source of funds for upgrading runways and infrastructure at GA airports. Further hearings on the details of the plan are scheduled for both houses of Congress over the next few weeks.