President Bush had proposed that aviation user fees should pay for over half the FAA budget.
By John Hughes
Washington – Aviation user fees won’t be part of a House plan for funding the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar said.
Existing taxes can cover the FAA’s budget and airport projects for the next five years, Oberstar said in an interview. President Bush had proposed a fee that would pay for more than half of the FAA’s $14.1 billion budget.
“None of what the administration was proposing” will be included, Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat, said in Washington. “We’re plotting a path to achieving it without the administration’s fees.”
Small-plane owners opposed fees based on air-space use, fearing higher costs.
Airlines and passengers pay two-thirds of costs now through taxes on passenger tickets, fuel, cargo and frequent-flier miles.
Even without fees, airlines hope Congress will require corporate-jet users to pay more, said David Castelveter, spokesman for the Washington-based Air Transport Association.
“We’re tired of subsidizing corporate aviation,” he said.
Oberstar said House lawmakers are still drafting an FAA proposal that will be ready for an aviation subcommittee vote later this month.
A Senate panel passed its version of the plan May 16.
It includes a small-scale version of Bush’s fee that, at $25 a flight, would collect $400 million a year.
Bush didn’t specify the amount of his fee.
Source: DENVER POST