by John Smutny
Re: “Obama’s agenda should include help for travelers” (TNT, 11-30).
This author unfortunately advocates for a faulty “user fee” system of funding the nation’s air traffic control system that will devastate small businesses throughout Washington.
This risky “user fee” plan would lavish multimillion-dollar tax break on the airline companies while small planes, or general aviation, would be forced to undertake millions in tax hikes. Meanwhile, many businesses that use general aviation would be forced to either curtail or cut their business, harming the residents of the small communities that rely on them: the farmers, builders and medical organizations that drive the economies of these small towns.
No one denies the need to modernize our air traffic control system. But the user fee system would shortchange modernization efforts by $600 million. Meanwhile, Congress has passed bipartisan, long-term funding bills that not only maintain a strong general aviation industry by preserving the tried-and-true fuel tax mechanism currently in use, but also ensure funding for modernizing our air traffic control system.
The House of Representatives already passed its version of the bill, and the Senate Finance and Commerce committees have come to a compromise on a similar bill. Now, it’s up to the Senate to pass its bill before March 31, 2009.
Passage of this bill through the Senate is essential to maintain America’s reputation of having the safest aviation system in the world. The hard work has already been done, and we must take the final step across the goal line.
Source: TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE