…Who Will Pay…


And it now appears the initial softening-up period on the potential for user fees is over. The term was, until recently, banished from the FAA lexicon, but the volatile verbiage is now clearly on the table. “Some groups have some very strong views when terms like ‘user fees’ are used,” Martin acknowledged. At the same time, he insists they are not a foregone conclusion. “I don’t think there’s any predetermined direction to go in this,” he added. But he did say the intention is to dissolve the Trust Fund at the end of the current budget-allocation period in 2007, and that the new system that replaces it will need more revenue. “There is no revenue [now] for the FAA that matches up with what it costs,” he said. And, as he predicted, the U-word provoked a voluble response. AOPA President Phil Boyer has been repeating his “No, no, no” mantra on user fees since long before the FAA started using the term and he continues to assert that it’s the number-one issue among his group’s 400,000-plus members. “The United States leads the world in general aviation,” Boyer said. “Would that continue under a user-fee system?”