Illinois Congressman Urges Abandoning User Fee Idea

Every major Congressional study into FAA funding packages has rejected the concept of user fees, and the trend continues. Representative Jerry Costello (D-12-Ill.), who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued a written statement calling on President Obama to reject the idea of instituting user fees for aviation services. General aviation advocates have long opposed the idea of user fees, claiming that the current strategy of fuel taxes is a more efficient and fair way for GA to contribute its share to funding the FAA. They maintain that the infrastructure required to collect the user fees would be cumbersome; and that the concept would create an incentive for pilots to avoid using services, thus compromising safety. The airline lobby has advocated user fees as a means of equalizing the economic impact of air traffic control and other infrastructure costs. Costello said, "We want to reiterate that a user fee proposal would be a step backward. This is an issue that we have had bipartisan agreement on in recent years and there is no reason to reconsider it. I will not support a budget or an FAA Reauthorization bill that includes user fees." Congress has struggled to pass a long-term funding bill for the FAA, though user fees have not been included in any of the past several attempts.

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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