Despite year-long and near-unanimous opposition from the business and general aviation community, the Bush Administration today formally submitted to the Congress a fiscal 2009 FAA budget proposal calling for the imposition of user fees and a reduction in Airport Improvement Plan (AIP) funding. The opponents expressed dismay and resolve to block the plan.
"What part of ´no!´ doesn´t the White House understand?" was the reaction of AOPA President Phil Boyer, who noted that since a similar, preliminary proposal first came before the Congress last February, those particulars had largely been rejected by the federal legislators.
Pete Bunce, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, noted that by "the exact same failed plan," the Administration "makes our job tougher." Nevertheless, "we will continue our efforts with Congress to complete action this year on a FAA reauthorization bill." And the proposed reduction in AIP funding by 22 percent, he said, makes it "pretty hard to believe the Administration is serious about increasing capacity."
For its part, NBAA alerted its members to the funding proposals submission and urged them to voice their opposition to their Congressional representatives.
NBAA President Ed Bolen commented, "We are disappointed that the White House budget language proposing user fees for FAA funding is no different this year than it was last year, in spite of outspoken and unified opposition to user fees from NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community. NBAA will continue oppose the Administration´s plan, and instead support proposals for FAA reauthorization and aviation modernization that build on the current, proven fuel-tax system for FAA funding and aviation system modernization."