Is Reason Report Unreasonable?

 - August 18, 2006, 5:59 PM

“Business aviation should support the shift to user fees,” urged Reason Foundation director of transportation studies Robert Poole, “if it is part of a comprehensive reform of ATC.” He said user fees would enable the costly switch to a “network-centric” (more technology-based) ATC system that in his view would offset increased costs with potential savings from increased flying efficiency and fewer delays. Poole’s 40-page report assumes that ATC user fees would increase business jet operating costs just 5 percent, based on spreading the costs over all users or charging for weight and distance traveled. In a weight-based user-fee system, Part 91 business aviation would pay more than it currently pays in fuel taxes. Fractional and charter aviation would shell out less because these operators now pay per-leg fees and taxes on hourly charges. Poole did not suggest whether current taxes or fees would disappear under a user-fee system. Fuel excise taxes in Canada remained the same after the country launched user-fee-based Nav Canada in 1999, and none of those tax revenues go to Nav Canada.