FAA Gets Another Temporary Funding

For the 15th time, Congress has voted for a 90-day extension on FAA funding. The last long-term funding plan expired in 2007. Bills to establish a new long-term program to fund the agency have been proposed, but always fall short of the needed support for a variety of reasons having little or nothing to do with the language of the FAA funding portion. The most high-profile of these is a provision related to FedEx labor unions. What's frustrating for general aviation advocates is that the stalled legislation does not include user fees. Rather, it retains the current format of aircraft operators contributing to FAA funding through fuel taxes (and passenger ticket taxes for airlines). Moves to introduce user fees — charges for ATC services, flight plans, calls to Flight Service Stations, etc — have met with stiff resistance within the GA ranks. Airline lobbyists have promulgated changing to a user-fee protocol, sometimes resorting to demonizing private aviation in their rhetoric.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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