GAO Says FAA Already Fully Supported for Future

 - June 7, 2007, 12:06 PM

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a response document released last week, reaffirmed its position on user fees and defied the FAA’s position, stating that the current FAA funding structure is sufficient to fund the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). According to the document, which is a list of responses to questions Congress asked the GAO, “The current FAA funding structure can provide sufficient funding for NextGen–with some caveats.” In fact, the report says, the Congressional Budget Office has calculated the FAA will earn $19 billion more than what is needed for baseline spending in the coming years if the current funding plan stays in place. The question remains whether that level will fund the NextGen project completely, mainly because there has yet to be a clear picture of what it will cost. Whatever the price tag though, the report says, Congress can increase excise taxes or make a larger contribution from the general fund to meet any potential gap.