GA User Fees... No? Or, is it Time?

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…

Airplanes already pay a form of user fees via taxes on fuel.

A user fee for GA would be good if it was reasonable. A $100 fee for each turbine departure is not reasonable. Something like an additional penny or two tax would be reasonable.

The FAA already gets $9,125,000,000 in taxes each year (7.5% passenger tax, $3.70 segment fee, and $16.30 international departure/arrival fee). There’s also a tax on fuel - does this go to the FAA or the general fund? They also get money from the 6.25% air cargo tax.

Does the FAA get additional money from the general fund or are they suppose to be self-supporting?

Agreed. $100 is pathetic. I assume that such a number was used to set the table limit, so that when all bets come in - they will be referenced against a $100 “standard.” For GA? I think a reasonable levy would be in the $1.25 - $2.25 range and not a dime more than that. Not a single dime. For CA? I would think they could easily accommodate a $3.25 to $4.25 user fee. This talk about $100 is so far from planet earth, that I hardly know how anyone can come up with it. It is a ridiculous number, right off the bat.

The congressional excise “bundle” aggregates many charges/taxes/levies/fees on aviation today. I would think they now collect significantly more than $9 billion. The fuel charges (along with the rest of the bundle) go directly into the AATF, with congress appropriating the remainder from the GF.

Sure, they do. But, during the Bush administration, government said that given current budget constraints, funding for even the FAA’s baseline operational expenses would “probably not be forthcoming” in future fiscal years. That was back when the prior administration attempted to launch User Fees against aviation.

The problem is that the FAA claims budgetary shortfalls, while aviation proponents claim budgetary surpluses! That math can’t be right on both sides. Last budget surplus that I heard the GA claim for the FAA was nearly $4 billion dollars by 2011. Yet, if you let the FAA tell the story, they claim they can barely keep the runway lights lit at night. Somebody is not telling the truth.

General Aviation needs a full and complete accounting of all post 1970 FAA spending, including general operational costs, maintenance costs and expansion (developmental) costs in a YoY format. Including projected project time-lines (before a project was initiated) -vs- actual project completion times (with cost overruns analysis).

We need this information to find out whether or not the FAA has been spending the excise revenue in an optimal fashion and according to schedule. Or, has the FAA/AATF been used as just another Federal Government slush fund with cooked-book projects that nobody can account for.

If DoD can announce less than 24 hours before September 11th, 2001, that the Pentagon lost track of $2.3 trillion of U.S. Tax Payer money, then the FAA should be put on Spot Check status before a dime of additional User Fees get approved by anyone.

That’s my down the middle approach on the matter. I’ll pay a couple bucks on departures - but I want detailed and verifiable analysis on how excise money has been spent since 1970, so I can be assured that the FAA has not been wasting our money.

No post 1970 verifiable analysis = no User Fees.

Here is a new petition to vote no to the $100 fee and instead add a bit to the existing fuel tax. At least that way new revenues would be created without adding yet another office full of paper pushers.! … e/Mtjk9lM3

(Yes, you do have to sign in to vote.)

Even over here in a country with more money than God they have fees. Every year we get to renew our pilots or mechanics licenses. The airplane has to get a new registration and a new Certificate of Airworthiness.The C of A inspection is done by a local “Fed” who may or may not know what he is looking at but has the power to ground you based on something that is his opinion. Normally they just issue a correction order and let you go, but you could have some 'splainin to do. The registration and license fees are not too bad but the C of A is tens of thousands of $$$$.
The company pays but it is a multi day pain in the butt.

John in Saudi

If You Are Paid By Government, MORE IS BETTER !

If you are not paid by government, you are doing the paying.

Sorry for being so simplistic, but making something complicated when it’s not, is what many in government do. ( it makes them feel smarter )

It’s a fantastic idea for an empire building, how do you spell it, bureacracy.

If the objective is an efficient method to accomplish what is required, this idea is the same shit, different day.