The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said Tuesday it would continue to reject aviation user fees after the White House released its 2015 budget proposal, which calls for a $100-per-flight “surcharge” to pay for air traffic control services.
The presidential spending plan is the fourth in a row to contain a similar user fee proposal, despite vocal objections from Congress and the aviation community.
“We are disappointed that the President doesn’t seem to have gotten the message,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “This is the wrong way to fund our national air transportation system, and user fees like this one could cripple general aviation. We are working hard to make general aviation more accessible and affordable, and whether you call it a user fee or a surcharge, we will keep fighting against proposals like this that would raise the cost of flying.”
The aviation community has had strong support from Congress in rejecting user fees. On Feb. 27, leaders of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus sent a letter to President Obama reiterating their strong bipartisan opposition to user fees and asking the President not to include a user fee proposal in his upcoming budget. The letter noted that the House of Representatives has repeatedly rejected this user fee proposal and opposition remains strong in both parties.
Last April, 223 members of the House of Representatives signed a strongly worded letter to the President opposing user fees and telling the President the idea was “dead on arrival.”
AOPA and other GA alphabet groups have long argued that user fees are the wrong way to fund the national air transportation system and that the FAA needs to reduce spending in several areas before looking for any new revenues. The current system of excise taxes on fuel is efficient and ensures that everyone who flies pays to support the system, officials noted.ᐧ