User Fees Resurface in Obama’s New Budget

Just a few weeks after the passage of a $64 billion FAA reauthorization bill – a bill void of both user fees and increases on aviation fuel taxes – the Obama administration revived the call for user fees when it unveiled its recent budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year on Monday.

The new proposal again lays out a $100 per flight user fee on aircraft operating within controlled airspace. According to the proposal, the fee would collect $7.4 billion over the next decade and would cover close to three-fourths of airport investment and air traffic control costs.

The move, expected by many in the industry, is bound to revive an ongoing debate that has played out contentiously both in the political realm and amongst the GA community over the past few years.

Just last month, the White House fanned the flames surrounding the subject with the release of a document titled “Why We Need Aviation User Fees,” published in response to a petition against the idea signed by close to 9,000 people.

As far as the impetus for the fees, the administration has continually cited the deficit and the desire that costs of air traffic services be “more equitably share[d]…across the aviation user community.”

For more on the subject, read Stephen Pope's take on why user fees will put aviation safety at risk.


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