The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Department of Transportation have concluded that there is adequate money under the existing FAA funding scheme to support modernization.
The FAA repeatedly claims that its funding mechanism needs to be overhauled to modernize the air traffic control system, but the DOT Inspector General, the GAO and the Congressional Budget Office all agree that modernization can be paid for under the current system.
Officials from the GAO, DOT and CBO have testified before Congress that the current funding structure is adequate to cover the foreseeable costs of modernization.
The existing system “creates incentives for fuel efficiency and environmental sensibility, follows international norms, and protects small towns while avoiding the creation of a new tax collection bureaucracy inside the FAA,” the GAO says.
The GAO warned Congress in 2004 that airlines do not pass on tax savings to passengers, so airline profitability, not ticket costs, are most likely to benefit from any tax savings realized by the airlines under the FAA proposal, which would impose user fees.