February 3, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC – Efforts underway this week in the Senate to reauthorize programs within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put Kansas’ General Aviation industry at the forefront.
During Thursday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts spoke on the importance of the General Aviation (GA) community, which supports 25,000 Kansas jobs statewide.
At issue is debate over how to properly fund the operations of the FAA, specifically deployment of next generation technology to upgrade our national air traffic control system. The GA community is willing to pay higher fuel taxes to support such an upgrade, but strongly rejects an overly burdensome user fee system that doesn’t properly measure GA’s use of the national airspace.
“It’s essential we adopt measures that accurately reflect costs incurred by various sectors’ use of the airspace,” Roberts said. “One sector that has stepped up to the plate and is willing pay its fair share of its use of airspace is General Aviation.”
Included in the FAA reauthorization bill is a 61 percent tax increase on non-commercial jet fuel paid by the industry. The increase would go from 21.8 cents per gallon to 35.9 cents per gallon.
Roberts continued, “I cannot recall a time when an industry has come to me and said, ‘We want to help and are willing to support an increase in our taxes to do so.’ But that is exactly what the GA community did. Their only request has been that they be able to pay through the current efficient and effective tax structure of the fuel tax. This is clearly a fair approach to addressing how this segment of the industry can continue to help finance the Trust Fund, and in a way that accurately reflects GA’s use of the National Airspace System without creating a new bureaucracy or additional red tape.”
“The legislation the Senate will soon vote on represents the best bipartisan compromise in a real effort to make our skies safer. Tens of thousands of workers employed in Kansas aviation manufacturing have waited long enough for this bill to pass. Let’s get it done,” Roberts said.
Senator Roberts serves on the Senate Finance Committee and is an outspoken advocate for General Aviation.