Alliance for Aviation Across America Coalition Formed

Airport officials, rural, agricultural and charitable organizations, local officials, aviation professionals, and businesses unite in broad coalition against Administration “user fees” tax proposal.

"We need to modernize our air traffic control system through full funding and accountability. Cutting $600 million in funding for our air traffic control system and levying billions in taxes on small towns and businesses is just wrong," said continued Wright, referring to the big airlines/FAA proposal.

According to numerous experts, the airline-backed proposal could impose severe economic hardship on the airports, small towns and communities which are served by the general aviation industry and largely ignored by the commercial airlines. "Community airports that serve small towns are critical to our security, our mobility during national emergencies, and to our local economies," said Niel Ritchie, president of the League of Rural Voters and coalition member. "General aviation is crucial for medical care, disaster relief, traffic enforcement on rural highways, wilderness search and rescue, and business growth for small communities. In fact, during Hurricane Katrina, when roads were often impassable due to heavy flooding, some 400 small aircraft evacuated around 23,000 people and delivered tons of supplies to relief workers in just five days."

"The airline-backed plan is a poison pill for rural towns and communities across America. This huge tax hike would ground many of these small planes and puddle jumpers that are the lifeline to these communities, impacting access to specialized medical care, disaster relief, and business resources," continued Ritchie.

The airline-backed FAA bill also slashes funding for the Essential Air Service Program and the Airport Improvement Program, and eliminates funding for the Small Communities Air Service Program, all of which are critical for the preservation of the airports. In fact, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Aviation Subcommittee estimates that approximately 300 airports would lose their current grant funding under the new proposal.

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