Frankly, I don’t think it will pass the House, let alone the Senate, but according to the President’s proposal, there would be a $100.00 user fee attached to every Turbine powered departure in the United States. Many GA groups are misrepresenting the proposal to include all GA flights, by not stipulating in their on-line publications, that the fees would apply to Turbine powered aircraft only, and in that category, only those aircraft having filed an IFR flight plan (pretty much the majority of all Turbine flight).
Congress passed a resolution before that enabled an excise taxation of General Aviation, in the form of a fuel surcharge/tax per gallon of GA fuel. Our industry experts tell us that the fuel tax, already allowed by Congress, is enough to fund the current and future needs of our national airspace system, including its growth and development costs, such as those that will be associated with NextGen. But, is this really true?
With Federal Budget issues more negative than they ever have been in the history of our country, would the Federal Government really be able to fund NextGen? Would it even be able to sustain the current operational and maintenance costs already increasing at the fastest rate in the history of the national airspace system? Projects like NextGen, bringing more GPS approaches online in more places, as well as an advanced Collision Avoidance national framework including all of the technical development necessary to integrate cockpit HITS with a centralized, point-to-point GPS based air traffic control system, will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, if not tens of billions of dollars before all is said and done.
Can H.R. 915 pay for all that? Or, under the fiscal pressures of a nation closing in on being in debt by 100% of its national GDP, is it time for GA and Commercial Aviation to dig deeper into its own pockets, to help fund the advancements that will make all air travel safer, more efficient and more cost effective for owners and operators? Or, is there another way to fund the costs associated with the future developments that are necessary in American Aviation?
What say you all…