Trouble in the Air
July 29, 2009
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  • Editorial


    As members of the Senate Finance Committee, Oregon’s Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith have a voice on pending legislation that would shift the cost of supporting the federal air traffic control system, lessening the burden on commercial aviation and sharply increasing the load on private pilots.

    Our Alex Paul reported on this issue on Tuesday. The effect on small airport businesses would be burdensome. And on private pilots it would be worse. For example, the proposal calls on the government to impose a fee of $25 every time a little plane takes off anywhere in the country.

    It’s true that the Federal Aviation Administration needs help. Every time we read about the air traffic control system, the news is worse: It’s overloaded and getting more so.

    But the fault lies mainly with the proliferation of commercial traffic, not with private pilots taking their planes for a spin from country airports on a Sunday afternoon.

    If Congress has to raise more money for air traffic safety, let it raise it from the parties that most contribute to the need. (hh)

    Date: 2007-08-30