5:20 PM

H.R. 2881:
AOPA Approved

The House has given us a huge gift in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007, a.k.a. H.R.2881 which will certainly help as we continue to battle Bush's White House and the FAA on user fees and future FAA funding. This latest House version still gives plenty of money to ATC and airports, without handing Bush's buddies in Big Airlines a huge windfall profit. From AOPA.org:

The House got it right; an FAA funding bill that would modernize the air traffic control system, increase airport funding, and do it all within the existing tax structure. And no ATC user fees! "The leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and aviation subcommittee refused to be bullied by the airlines or accept the FAA's claims of poverty," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "They took a reasoned, rational look at what needed to be done and how to pay for it, and delivered a solution that promotes the interests of all segments of aviation.
I have to wonder how W and his airline cronies will wiggle out of the logic behind this bill, because it actually gives them MORE then they have been strong arming us for:
Nearly $13 billion would be available for ATC modernization (NextGen) and other FAA capital improvements. That's more than $1 billion beyond what the administration proposed in the FAA's actual bill. And airports would be slated for $15.8 billion in improvements over the course of the bill, some $4 billion more than what the administration proposed.
This version of the bill makes the most sense when compared to the other two versions floating around The Hill, when you look at this PDF comparison chart provided by Aopa:
The FAA's proposal increases fuel taxes 261% on GA piston aircraft, gives a $2 billion tax break to the airlines, and creates “opaque” user fees which replace current “transparent” passenger ticket taxes. The Senate's proposal leaves GA fuel taxes at the same rate, increases non-airline turbine aircraft fuel taxes by 124%, eliminates current fuel taxes paid by the airlines, and introduces new user fees.
Yes, under H.R. 2881, there are small fuel tax increases. But the increase for GA pilots from 19.3 to 24.1 cents per gallon is almost invisible. But while it looks to be the answer to our prayers, those (like me) who will be buying aircraft in the near future may see some increase in the “out the door” price of that bird:
H.R. 2881 adds massive increases to several FAA services that aircraft dealers and buyers must now factor in. A chart on Avweb shows these services – for things such as lien recording and aircraft registration – going up from ten bucks now to $495, a whopping 4,950 percent increase!
While H.R. 2881 is a huge step in the right direction for GA users of the airspace system, this is not yet a slam-dunk. AOPA calls this a 12-step process, so we must push on until the very end.

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