Remember ANN's REALTIME
Report on all the hub-bub over user-fees at least week's FAA
Forecast Conference? Well, the rhubarb is hitting the fan now...
and we're glad to see it.
Just two days after AOPA President Phil Boyer blasted the
administration for under-funding airports, members of Congress took
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to task for lopping half a
billion dollars from airport grants.
"There's growth throughout the industry," Rep. Ed Pastor
(D-Ariz., below, right)) told Mineta at a House Appropriations
transportation subcommittee hearing Friday. "How can the
administration justify a cut of this magnitude for critical airport
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) said the budget plan could cut out GA
airports entirely. And he expressed concern about the commercial
airlines trying to push more of the funding burden onto general
aviation. He said that the administration's budget cuts could
"unfairly shift the burden to user fees," and that would "crush
"You cannot ask private
pilots to pay $300 to $500 to land at an airport," he said. "That's
like asking someone to pay $100 for a metro ride [the Washington,
D.C., subway system]."
Mineta said that he was "confident" that the administration's
proposed $3 billion for the Airport Improvement Program would be
enough to cover all funding requests for fiscal year 2006.
And repeating what he and FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said
at the FAA forecast conference, Mineta noted the declining revenue
from the passenger ticket tax and predicted that in 10 years the
aviation trust fund wouldn't be able to meet the FAA's needs.
"There's no question that the administration is facing
tremendous budget pressures, but this does not justify user fees,"
said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and
"As Phil Boyer told the Washington crowd at the FAA Forecast
Conference, 'Not on our watch!'"