BY NEIL WEAVER (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 23, 2008
Beyond the bright lights of downtown Reno, Nevada communities encourage businesses both small and large to expand into their area and provide their residents with easier access to new products and services. With parts of our state more than a day’s drive away, road travel can be very time-consuming for businesses that are known for quick service. Thus, many companies have invested in their own airplanes to sustain their business in Nevada and across the Southwest.
Yet, small businesses cannot abide the record delays and cancellations they were forced to endure this past summer. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem of delays, however, the airlines have been lobbying Congress for an undeserved tax break at the expense of the small businesses that rely on general aviation aircraft. Under their proposal, the airlines would unnecessarily overhaul the current tried-and-true fuel tax system with a risky new tax scheme, creating a massive new bureaucracy and failing to generate necessary funds for modernization.
The Government Accountability Office and the inspector general of the Department of Transportation both have testified that there is no need to move away from the current fuel tax system, which is simple, efficient and allows general aviation to “pay at the pump.” Fortunately, the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has drafted a bill that would keep the current tax structure and reject user fees in any form. Their proposal recently was passed through the full House.
The Senate Finance Committee also passed its own common-sense bill that would preserve this fuel tax system without awarding the airlines a tax break.
This proposal creates a fair and equitable funding structure that will fund air-traffic control modernization and keep general aviation strong. Now, the Senate Finance Committee bill will be considered by the full Senate.
Moving forward with modernization funding would mean keeping general aviation and the businesses and communities that rely on it strong for the foreseeable future. And by keeping the current funding structure intact, Congress can avoid doing damage to local businesses and still provide historic funding levels for modernization.
All members of general aviation applaud the House and Senate for their dedication to modernizing our air-traffic control system and preserving a strong general aviation industry. Congress must now finish what they have started before legislative days are exhausted and ensure safe and secure skies for both commercial and general aviation aircraft.
Neil Weaver established Weaver Aircraft in Carson City in 1987. He has logged more than 8,000 flight hours and is a member of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.
Source: RENO GAZETTE