Fuel Taxes Best Way to Fund Air Traffic System
July 29, 2009
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  • Letter to the Editor

    By Phil Boyer


    No one in aviation disputes the need to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system.

    But while new technology is essential and may, over the next two decades, increase airspace capacity, it is no quick fix for the current delay problem.

    The NextGen air traffic control system will increase capacity, but only incremental changes can be expected until 2020, when it is fully implemented. It is certainly not a cure-all for this summer’s problems.

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a strong financial framework to finance both day-to-day FAA operations and air traffic control modernization. It is based on today’s highly efficient pay-at-the-pump aviation fuel taxes, not the expensive-to-administer user fees the Senate bill contemplates.

    Both the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s Office say the fuel tax system will raise more than enough money to accomplish both goals. The Senate Finance Committee has also endorsed fuel taxes as the means to support NextGen.

    The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s 413,000 members support modernizing a government-run air traffic control system funded with a fuel tax increase.

    They are not willing to switch to user fees that cut airlines’ taxes and saddles general aviation with the difference.

    Phil Boyer

    President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

    Source: Honolulu Advertiser
    Date: 2007-11-27