The Bush Administration rolled out its FY2007 budget plan early last month, calling for $13.75 billion for the FAA–down from the $14.31 billion for this fiscal year–and doling out a big hit on general aviation airports. Although the proposal does not yet call for user fees, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta warned that the agency will have to “relate revenue sources to the services being provided,” such as ATC.
The battle lines over FAA funding have been drawn, with general aviation on one side and the airlines on the other. The dueling began in earnest on March 8, with press conferences from both the Air Transport Association (ATA) and several GA groups.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, a long-time advocate for general aviation and the lone Democrat in President Bush’s Cabinet, shocked and saddened the transportation industry when he announced his resignation June 20. He oversaw the DOT’s response to the 9/11 attacks, and his 5.5-year tenure was the longest in the history of the agency.
Norman Mineta will step down July 7 after serving as DOT Secretary for more than five years, saying, “It is time for me to move on to other challenges.” Mineta was a member of Congress in 1994, and NBAA said the 74-year-old Democrat’s “understanding of general aviation” helped guide the legislative body to pass the General Aviation Revitalization Act.
Despite assurances from FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that the agency was near a new financing plan, user-fee storm clouds continue to roil on the horizon without form or shape.
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