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GAMA Challenges FAA Assumptions On User Fees

GAMA NEWS 07-8 For Immediate Release: Feb 12, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC, February 12, 2007 – During their Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook Briefing today, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) dispelled many of the myths the Administration has put forth regarding the need for an overhaul of the current funding mechanism.

Pete Bunce, GAMA’s President and CEO, began by demonstrating that the current mechanism of aviation excise taxes is, in fact, a stable and predictable method of funding, despite the Administration’s insistence that it is not. “Over the past ten years, the U.S. Congress has routinely given the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) more than the President asked for in the budget. You cannot get much more stable than that,” said Bunce. “Trust fund revenues, which help fund the FAA, are at record levels and projected to continue to grow through 2012,” he added.

Secondly, the Administration has insisted that a new funding mechanism must be created in order to fund the transformation of the air traffic control system. However, according to the President’s own budget, the Administration’s user fee scheme would generate approximately one billion dollars less than the current mechanism. “The Administration’s proposed funding scheme is not about modernization,” said Bunce. “It is shifting costs from the airlines onto general aviation.”

GAMA also challenged the notion that Congress would remain in control of the FAA budget with implementation of the Administration’s user fee scheme. Under their proposal, the FAA Administrator would set fees on an annual basis to cover costs as necessary. “The pressure on the FAA to responsibly spend taxpayer dollars, currently overseen by the Congressional authorization and appropriations processes, would go away,” said Bunce. “We cannot afford to give the FAA a blank check to fund its operations.”

Lastly, GAMA addressed the belief that a user fee scheme would be an efficient method to collect revenue. “You cannot implement user fees without also creating another bureaucracy to collect them,” said Bunce. “The current system of aviation excise taxes is an efficient and cost effective method to fund the FAA.”

“No one is more committed to the modernization of the national airspace system than aviation manufacturers,” said Bunce. “We must move past this ill-advised user fee proposal and focus the efforts of our industry and government partners to design and implement a modernized air traffic management system.”

Communications Director:
Andre Castro:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

GAMA exists to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests, and activities of the global business and general aviation industry. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul and the important role these industry segments play in economic growth and opportunity, and in serving the critical transportation needs of communities, companies, and individuals worldwide.