Bolen Troubled by Recent Blakey Comments on Aviation System Funding

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today expressed concern over comments made by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Marion Blakey about aviation system funding.

"Some of the things said by the Administrator seemed at odds with decades of funding experience and FAA’s own information," Bolen said.

Blakey’s comments came in response to questions raised at a National Press Club news conference yesterday. The FAA is anticipated to propose significant changes in aviation system funding this year in conjunction with FAA "reauthorization."

Bolen first pointed to Blakey’s allegation that a new funding mechanism is needed to support the aviation system that more effectively ties revenues the FAA collects to the costs imposed on the system by its users.

"The general aviation fuel tax is a very simple, accurate and efficient way to tie revenues to costs," Bolen said. "GA fuel taxes reflect how much people fly – the more you fly, the more fuel you burn, the more taxes you pay. However, they don’t involve complicated formulas, require a big bureaucracy or turn the FAA Administrator into a tax czar. It is difficult to imagine a better funding mechanism."

Bolen also was troubled by the Administrator’s contention that aviation system funding lacks "equity" – in other words, some aviation segments are not paying an appropriate amount for their use of the system.

"The last FAA cost allocation study that focused on the cost each segment imposes on the system concluded that general aviation is responsible for something like 8 percent of total system costs. That is roughly in the ballpark of what the GA community is paying today," said Bolen. "For over a year, NBAA has repeatedly asked the Administrator to discuss with us any updated information the Agency may have on this issue, but those requests have been denied.

"The businesses and communities across the country that rely on general aviation should be very concerned about the latest comments from the FAA," Bolen concluded. "We hope the Administrator will revisit these issues before the FAA reauthorization proposal is submitted to Congress."

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