Bush Said To Be Leaning That Way
Rumors are surfacing out of
Washington, DC that Norman Mineta's imminent departure as head
of the Department of Transportation could mean big
things for current FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.
The conservative website Human Events Online reported Tuesday
that Blakey is the odds-on favorite to succeed Mineta as Secretary
of Transportation... and, that President Bush may be set to
announce his decision by the end of the week.
It is not a completely surprising move. After all, Blakey has a
formidable political background... as before her tenure at the FAA,
Blakey served as chairman of the NTSB. She served in the Department
of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Humanities under the
first Bush administration.
What could such a move mean for general aviation, though?
Well... it's hard to say at this point, but one potential
ramification of having Blakey as head of the DoT has some pilots up
in arms. The issue? User fees, of course... as Mineta was a very
strong, very vocal opponent of imposing user fees on general and
business aviation pilots and operators.
And Blakey? Well, in the past she's shown a
more... pragmatic... attitude towards the fees, which the airlines
are pushing the FAA to adopt in order to, they claim, better
balance out the financial responsibility for the nation's air
traffic control system.
Many opponents of user fees saw Mineta as a defender of their
cause, keeping the user fee issue at bay. Now, with Blakey... or,
for that matter, anyone else... at the helm of the DoT... they fear
the monster may gain strength.
If Blakey were to move her office a few floors up, the obvious
question is... who would replace her? Good question... and we have
no names as of yet.
Of course... we don't know for certain that Blakey is going
anywhere, either. Stay tuned.