Bipartisan Group to Mr. President: No User Fees!
Continuing support - several members of the House Aviation Subcommittee were denouncing user fees back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007, including (l to r) Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa); Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii); ranking member Thomas Petri (R-Wisconsin); subcommittee chairman Jerry Costello, (D-Illinois); Candace Miller (R-Michigan); and Vern Ehlers (R-Michigan).
October 20, 2009 — One hundred eighteen members of the United States House of Representatives signed a letter sent to President Barack Obama today urging him not to propose user fees as a means of funding the FAA in the federal FY 2011 budget. The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) and Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), the chairman and ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee, as well as Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), co-chairs of the General Aviation Congressional Caucus.
The letter stresses to the president that “the current system of excise taxes has proven to be a stable and efficient source of funding for our aviation system” and that user fees would place an “undue administrative burden, and associated costs, on system users - particularly on small businesses and general aviation users.”
Congress had turned away user-fee proposals from previous Administrations, and general aviation groups that included EAA, AOPA, NBAA, GAMA and others have consistently maintained that user fees are not required to fully fund FAA operations and would create additional bureaucracy. EAA’s response to previous user-fee proposals included a major “No User Fee” campaign during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007, where thousands of pilots were provided information and tools to respond directly to federal lawmakers.
“The GA associations have been effective in communicating the urgency and importance of this issue to Congressional representatives,” said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. “A user-fee system would stifle personal air transportation and cripple the general aviation industry that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide.”
The newly formed general-aviation caucus in the House was especially valuable in defining the issue and creating the environment for the bipartisan response to President Obama.
“We’re grateful to Representatives Petri, Costello, Ehlers and Boyd for their work on this matter,” Macnair said. “We appreciate what they and 114 other members of the House have done to support general aviation and the currently effective system of FAA funding.”