A petition to take user fees off the table garnered more than 8,900 signatures — many from general aviation pilots — but the result wasn’t what we hoped for. Instead, the response from Dana Hyde, Associate Director for General Government Programs, Office of Management and Budget, is an essay titled “Why We Need Aviation User Fees.”
It reads: “Thank you for signing the petition “Take Aviation User Fees Off the Table.” We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov and your concerns about user fees in a challenging economy.
“In a challenging budget environment, the Obama Administration believes it’s essential that those who benefit from our world-class aviation system help pay for its ongoing operation. And we want to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share. For example, under current law, a large commercial aircraft flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco pays between 21 and 33 times the fuel taxes paid by a corporate jet flying the same route and using the same FAA air traffic services. This is why the Administration proposed to establish a new surcharge for air traffic services.
“The proposed $100 per flight fee would generate an estimated $11 billion over 10 years, reducing the deficit and more equitably sharing the cost of air traffic services across the aviation user community. All piston aircraft, military aircraft, public aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights would be exempted.
“We appreciate your petition’s acknowledgment that there needs to be an increased user contribution to aviation system funding in the current fiscal climate, and we recognize that some would prefer to raise the tax rate on aviation fuel. At the same time, we have concluded that a $100 per flight user fee is an equitable way for those who benefit to bear the cost of this essential service.
“As we work to get our Nation back on a sustainable fiscal path, the Administration is making tough choices across the Federal budget and asking everyone to do their fair share. We recognize these shared sacrifices are not easy, but together with investments in our economic growth and job creation, they will make us stronger and more competitive for the future. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Congress and the aviation stakeholder community on this issue, and thank you again for your constructive input.”
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