10:08 AM

Buttering us up.

Average Joe and Jane couldn't possibly care less that FAA and the Bushies want to impose fatal user fees and a 366 percent increase in fuel taxes on general and business aviation. All they really want is for their flight to depart and arrive on time. So one sure way to get the public to back the White House plan to stab us in the back is to scream LOUDLY that if FAA does not get more money FAST, expect more delays at our nation's airports.

In this FAA press release from March 15th, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters cautioned that aviation delays will grow without significant reforms, as forecasters predict air traffic will increase by the equivalent of two major hub airports each year through 2020:

The number of passengers carried by U.S. commercial air carriers is on track to hit the one billion mark by 2015, according to government forecasters. Certain key hubs, such as Washington Dulles (68 percent), New York Kennedy (59 percent), Los Angeles International (54 percent), and Atlanta Hartsfield (38 percent), will see significant growth in the number of take-offs and landings, risking major passenger delays if we fail to upgrade the nation’s air traffic control system. Secretary Peters noted that while the strong economy could drive new traffic, she also cautioned that already growing delays will continue to get worse without significant changes to the nation’s air traffic control system. Delays last year reached an all time high and now cost the nation’s economy over $10 billion annually.
And without question, the FAA release clearly points out who is behind this user fee agenda:
To meet the coming demand and avoid a continuation of this year’s record delays, the Bush Administration has proposed legislation to help relieve congestion, improve passenger airline travel, and cut noise for communities near airports. The Secretary noted that the legislation, the Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007, would replace the decades-old system of collecting ticket taxes with a cost-based, stable and reliable funding program that relies on a combination of user fees, taxes and a federal government contribution to achieve the NextGen system.
What the FAA, King W, Secretary Peters, or anyone at the ATA fails to ever mention is that as proposed, the NGTS Financing Reform Act of 2007 will drive a stake through the heart of the aviation industry, killing off many flight schools, shuttering FBOs across the land, and closing down fledgling airframe makers who are now just getting their footing in the LSA arena.

Another point that is never made is this: Bush's cronies at the airlines must think that by effectively pricing VLJs and other private jets out of the market, all those jet buyers will now park their $3 million investment and herd themselves onto a delayed airliner to be crammed into an overbooked flight with the unwashed back in coach. We all know that the airline and ATA estimates of how the sky will darken with the shadows of a flood of VLJs is completely overblown, but it DOES make great headline fodder.

And worst of all, Bush's FAA re-financing fiasco will kill the dreams of a whole country full of nine-year-olds who now dream to one day...fly. When it costs them $225 an hour wet to fly IFR approaches in a rented G1000 Cessna 172SP, only the very rich will be able to afford flight training. The rest – the vast majority of our population's young people – will have to hang on the airport fence, wishing that back in the day, back in 2007, the worst president in history hadn't killed off GA.

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