Could Debt Talks Foster New GA User Fees?

 - July 21, 2011, 11:00 AM

General aviation groups sent a joint letter to all members of Congress on Tuesday urging them to drop a proposal to charge a $25 “departure fee” on airline and GA flights. “Our community is deeply concerned about reports suggesting that current negotiations to raise the debt ceiling are giving rise to a resoundingly discredited approach to raising revenues from our industry–user fees,” the presidents of seven GA associations wrote. “Bad ideas, like bad pennies, have a habit of turning up again and again in Washington,” said AOPA president and CEO Craig Fuller. “Now is not the time to revisit the bad idea of user fees,” echoed Helicopter Association International president Matt Zuccaro. Industry leaders say that the current fuel excise tax system is the most efficient and effective way for GA to contribute to the aviation trust fund. On the other hand, they emphasize, experience elsewhere in the world demonstrates that user fees cripple general aviation, doing irreparable harm to a vital economic driver.