The House Transportation Committee’s attempt at an FAA reauthorization and funding bill has received praise and backing from general aviation interests, but they warn that the fight for passage without user fees is far from over.
Despite heavy lobbying by general aviation groups, a promising effort to have the concept of user fees for ATC services stricken from the Senate’s version of an FAA reauthorization bill failed narrowly in mid-May by a 12-11 vote.
Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, and ranking member Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) are expected to introduce an FAA reauthorization bill this week to counter one the Bush Administration released in February.
The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) convention usually offers a sneak preview of the future of general aviation avionics. This year there were plenty of product introductions, but the real news from AEA 2007 unfolded before the show started.
A provision in the legislation to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation programs, known as the Highway Bill, would “drastically alter the way the taxes on jet fuel are collected,” according to the National Air Transportation Association. Under the proposal, jet fuel would be taxed at the same 24.4-cent-per-gallon rate as diesel fuel.
NBAA and the National Air Transportation Association are creating a joint working group to address the fuel tax provisions of the Highway Bill that was signed by the President earlier this month. “Of particular concern is that taxes on jet fuel will be assessed at the diesel fuel rate [24.4 cents per gallon instead of the 21.9-cent per-gallon jet fuel rate] and deposited into the Highway Trust Fund,” NBAA said.
Ed Bolen, president and CEO of NBAA, described the recently released FAA funding proposal as “one of the greatest threats business aviation has ever faced.” According to Matthew Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International (HAI), it is an even bigger threat to the helicopter industry.
Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, described the recently released FAA funding proposal as “one of the greatest threats business aviation has ever faced.” According to Matthew Zuccaro, president of HAI, it is an even bigger threat to the helicopter industry.
General aviation’s concerns found a firm basis last month when the FAA presented a reauthorization proposal that includes a more than 300-percent hike in the fuel tax and myriad fees for obtaining a pilot’s license, registering an airplane or receiving a medical.
NBAA, the National Air Transportation Association and General Aviation Manufacturers Association recently urged the Department of Treasury to suspend the changes to jet fuel taxation provisions that were contained in H.R.3, the Highway Bill.