On User Fees, And The Nomination Of LaHood For SecDOT

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Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood, currently a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was nominated Friday to serve as Secretary of Transportation and aviation's alphabet groups are chiming in. AOPA president-elect Craig Fuller had positive remarks regarding President-elect Barack Obama's decision. "The Appropriations Committee has adamantly opposed aviation user fees," said Fuller, who said that LaHood's experience there "should be helpful to general aviation" when Lahood's input reaches the White House. The Air Transportation Association of America, which as early as 2006 called for aviation user fees to bolster the FAA's budget, said in a statement that Congressman LaHood has earned a reputation as an "even-handed, thoughtful" deliberator. The ATA says it is looking forward to working with LaHood on "revitalization of the aviation infrastructure," with an eye toward "prudent and equitable action on the reauthorization of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund." The ATA intends to work with LaHood to "best utilize the airlines' potential" to generate economic growth. As for LaHood, "I understand what good infrastructure and transportation means to local communities," he said.

If confirmed as Transportation Secretary, LaHood would bring with him the bipartisan support of James Oberstar, the sitting House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, who said LaHood would be "excellent, superb, in fact" in the position. Sitting Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters offered similar confidence that "our nation's transportation network will be in good hands under the leadership of Congressman LaHood."