NBAA: NextGen Funding Reform Needed, but Not User Fees

 - July 2, 2013, 3:50 PM

Industry stakeholders should take a “careful approach” in recommending funding and other structural reforms to the U.S. aviation system, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told attendees at a NextGen symposium on Thursday in Washington, D.C. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Air Line Pilots Association International sponsored the event.

During a discussion about NextGen modernization funding, panelists agreed that industry stakeholders are moving in the right direction by convening discussions about reasonable approaches to reform funding for important programs such as NextGen. Airlines for America president Nicholas Calio said a national policy approach is needed to “treat the industry as the strategic asset that it is for the nation.” He said this should include a fresh look at the tax and regulatory structure; how to provide adequate, steady funding for NextGen; and restructuring the FAA.

Bolen echoed Calio’s comments, but noted, “Anything a user-fee system can do for us, the fuel tax mechanism does better. Business aviation fully supports paying for its share of the system using the fuel tax; it’s easy, simple, fast and efficient,” adding that it creates no administrative burden on companies and it does not require a costly bureaucracy to operate.


So much is written of impending user fees and yet so little about the Aviation Trust Fund which we've been funding with fuel taxes for decades. What is the present value of the funds collected and is this being used to creatively account for the spending not going on for NexGen?

Time to start writing the real story of where the money is and what it should be used for.

Let the user fees be paid at the pump. Safety demands a higher level of service from the FAA not just for those flying IFR at high altitudes but for all who use the system regardless of size or destination.

As a pilot flying a non-electric aircraft I am already paying too much for AV Gas. To add insult to injury the Federal Govt. has mandated ethanol added to all MO Gas making it unsuitable for aviation and forcing me to burn expensive 100LL that is unneeded by my aircraft and poisons the environment at the same time.

Thanks John good to see someone else that resents the fact that the big boys want those of us that dont need the services to help pay for them. Some of us already struggle to save up for avgas, while watching corporates spend more than that 100 dollar user fee on snacks for their flight!

the $5.00 per thousand pounds landing fee imposed on all users at smo is back breaking . if that isn't a user fee what is . ? they re using it to close the apt. and drive everyone away .

The subject of Users Fees is a typical example of –one of many---which is being used by the power brokers within GA to obtain economic benefits and a comfortable life style for certain segments of General Aviation (GA) which is directly detrimental to the survival of GA. It is being “pretended” by certain groups –including the Advocacy Groups—there is a concern about the long term survival of GA –yet everything sponsored is only providing “short term benefits” for the power brokers which literary over time will kill General Aviation as we know it. We fully know everybody’s interest and position on Users Fees—that is Airlines, GA as well as Government—these positions are easily reconciled to the complete satisfaction of the startup phase of GA and everybody else if indeed this had been the objective. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that “long term survival of GA” is anything more than a political slogan.

Actually, no new bureaucracy is needed to collect user fees. That is a baseless talking point. Opponents conveniently overlook the fact that the FAA already collects overflight fees, has been doing so for quite some time, and that the mechanism quietly, efficiently, does the job it was designed to do.

But my concern is that talking about fuel tax as a way to fund Next-Gen distracts attention from the fact that U.S. Taxpayers currently subsidize flights by corporate jets in controlled airspace, for no good reason.

So any solution, User Fees for corporate jet flights, or a Special Fuel Tax rate for corporate jet flights, must address both the need to fund Next-Gen and the need to end the status quo entitlement for current corporate jet flights in controlled airspace.

So instead of imposing fees on those who can clearly afford it ( lets face it..if you can afford more than a single engine plane..your doing alright) the wealthy special interests are intent on spreading the costs to everyone. Go ahead. You will win - money always does. But don't be shocked when your airport closes because you have all but eliminated the already dwindling weekend middle class flyer that keeps barely hanging on right now. Most of my middle class brethren already fly less due to the recent increases in low lead now, and I guarantee another increase will be the straw that broke the camels back, no matter how much we love to fly. Most of us are having a hard time justifying it now. And it's nearly impossible to convince someone that they should learn to fly after you tell them the hourly rate for fuel. GA flourished when the middle class could participate and made it better for everyone, I hope the wealthy take that into account, before they have to drive 70 miles to the nearest airport for their plane.

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