President Barack H. Obama’s proposed budget is calling for aviation user charges starting in 2011, writes Warren D. Morningstar of AOPA.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the proposal on Feb. 26 and, although there is not much detail, the document makes it clear that the administration wants to replace some aviation excise taxes with “direct user charges.”
“It is often said the devil is in the details, but even with only a few details, we are concerned,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “We have been working constructively with the Obama administration and Congress about moving forward with air traffic control modernization and airport development. However, the warning light went on with the budget briefing documents and the plan for imposing billions in user fees on the aviation community.”
The budget “proposes repealing some aviation excise taxes and replacing these taxes with direct user charges” (page 129 of the budget proposal). “Direct user charges are just another name for user fees,” Fuller stated. The proposed user fees would add up to some $7 billion in 2011, or about half of the FAA’s total budget.
“We don’t know what kind of user charges the Obama administration would propose to implement, but the previous administration wanted to raise about $7 billion through air traffic control system user fees,” Fuller pointed out.
The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), a staunch opponent of user fees, released a statement saying: “I note that the budget appears to propose some type of aviation user fee. Aviation user fees have been proposed several times in the past by OMBs of various administrations, and have not been adopted by Congress.” Fuller testified in support of Chairman Oberstar’s bill, H.R.915, to finance the FAA through the current system of aviation excise taxes, earlier in February.
David L. Rudd says
I am very sorry to say… anymore, sometime it seems as though our government is out to destroy general aviation all togather! Between the cost of airplanes due to uncontrolled suite happy lawyers, out of control fuel prices and the loss of less expensive mo-gas from ethanol, insurances, licenses, taxes and fees, and govermental regulation, general aviation is about to be come a lost dream to the average American.
The additional cost of user fee will be the beginning of the end of an already crippled industry.
How can we, as a free people, let one of the most beneficial and incredible experiances humans can have, die due to more govermental suppression? Where has our freedom gone? Where is our pursuit of happiness? Where is our democratic voices? The people seem not to be heard over the bureaucratic noise and large money special interest!
General aviation embodies all the things that have made America a great nation… Free common people bring forth an idea and freely pursue their dream. That dream, God willing, becomes reality. They gather their resources, build a small business that eventually grows it to a industry and brings it to the masses. All benefit from it and the quality of our lives is greater. Personal responsibility, some democratically decided regulation, and technology makes it safe for all to use and enjoy…
General aviation is grass roots America… Destroy the roots and America will die with it!
Northwest Cessna Pilot and normally a very positive American!
David L. Rudd
mike moore says
I am a general aviation pilot since 1966 and I am greatly concerned about user fees, but no one has said what the fee will be, if it is for contacting FSS, or an FAA facility, or just use of the sky? What the hell do they want, and how much. Will there be any way to go from one uncontrolled field to another after a briefing on the web and avoiding the fee? How will we pay and how often. Surely someone can answer some of these questions. Will all military training flights have to pay, or will this be against my constitutional rights with respect to unequal treatment before the law, like the Florida elections? Where is the industry outcry with regards to the constituitionality of such a proposal? I think we need to file that suit now. Why don’t we vote to let them used all those funds in the aviation trust funds that are there on paper, at least, to buy them their new toys,that they don’t need because there is a monsterous contraction of airline flights and GA flights in this new world economy. Do the simple minded idiots not understand that many of us pay out of our own pockets to fly blood free to those who need it, or do they not understand that we give rides to sick people to avoid long costly drives for treatment? Do they ignore our low end support at grass roots levels to introduce young people into the industry? Who is really behind such a silly proposal? They will kill the industry they are trying to help with a new system. I think they are nuts.
Al Beckwith says
How do we in the a “SMALL AVIATION BUSINESS” qualify to receive Finacial Assistance to support the Training of Future Pilots and continue to insure continuing training CURRENT PILOTS as required and necessary in accordance with FAA Requirements ?????
Al Beckwith says
I have been operating a Flight School since 1966 and it has ben very difficult financially since the fuel shortage in 1978.
Since that time it has been contiuously in a downturn. Prior to 1978 we operted 35 aircraft along with having an FAA Repair station plus 2 General Aviation Aircraft Dealership.
Currently we are losing money and are down to 3 aircraft. We have been hit hard also by the current Financial US Crisis.
Before Any fees to General Aviation are incured; the basis need to adjust according to my sector of the industry; which is training.
The continuing need for “Qualified and Experienced Pilots need to be a priority.
The Quality of the Crew in the recent Hudson River crash is an example of the VALUE of Flight experience that saved all aboard the Flight.