New Congress to President: user fees will not fly

 - February 1, 2011, 3:15 AM

As the 112th Congress kicked off its first legislative year, the incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was gearing up for another run at FAA reauthorization.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) was hoping to hold hearings before the end of last month on a new funding bill for the agency. And once again, general aviation was closing its ranks to head off any potential user fees.

Even though the GOP now controls the House of Representatives, it was outgoing House aviation subcommittee chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) and the incoming subcommittee chairman Thomas Petri (R-Wis.) who fired the first volleys at the White House. They began circulating a letter urging President Obama not to include GA user fees in his budget for Fiscal Year 2012, which begins October 1.

Costello sent a similar letter in October 2009, which received strong, bipartisan support. He favors maintaining the current mechanism of using fuel taxes to support the Aviation Trust Fund, which provides money for the FAA.

“We want to reiterate that a user-fee proposal would be a step backward."