WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today told members of Congress that the business aviation community remains committed to continued progress toward a Next Generation Air Traffic Control ("NextGen") system.
Bolen appeared before a House Aviation Subcommittee hearing focused on the future of the nation's air transportation system and a multi-year "reauthorization" (funding) package for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The hearing came on the heels of a House measure, introduced Monday, to reauthorize FAA programs for the next four years. NBAA supports the proposal.
"General aviation plays a critical role in driving economic growth and investment across the country," said Bolen. "We strongly support your work to improve our nation’s aviation system, which will also significantly contribute to economic growth and job creation. In these challenging economic times, the importance of a robust transportation system cannot be overemphasized."
Bolen noted that much had changed for the business aviation community and in the broader economic climate since he appeared before the Subcommittee in 2005. Yet, in spite of the challenges faced by the industry, support remained steadfast for FAA reauthorization legislation, including an increase in the general aviation (GA) fuel tax to help pay for aviation system modernization.
"General aviation has been at forefront of the modernization effort," said Bolen. "We were early adopters of GPS navigation systems and supporters of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, a technology that is now the cornerstone of the modernization effort. Just as we have supported forward-looking technologies, we will continue to support forward-thinking policies for achieving our shared goal of leading the world in aviation."
As an example, he pointed to H.R. 2881, passed by the House during the 110th Congress. That measure, which had the support of the GA, allocated specific funds for modernization. It also rejected operational user fees for FAA funding and preserved the proven, efficient fuel tax for general aviation. "We remain opposed to user fees because they are confusing and time-consuming to process, ripe for dispute and economically detrimental to the general aviation community," said Bolen.
"We are committed to working with the Congress to complete an FAA reauthorization bill that ensures that our nation’s aviation system will remain the world’s largest, safest and most efficient," said Bolen.