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Texas Mayor Voices Opposition to Aviation User Fees
January 21, 2013
Addison, TX Mayor Todd Meier knows a good value when he sees it. Approximately one-quarter of his town is comprised of Addison Airport (ADS), a leading community airport in the region, a major employer and revenue generator for the municipality and a source of civic pride.
So when Meier perceives a threat, he is quick to rise to his airport’s defense, and that is why he recently wrote a letter to President Barack Obama.
“At this point, it appears that [aviation] user fees are being discussed [by the Obama Administration],” Meier said. “The point of the letter is to point out some of the unintended consequences of the user fee.”
Noting that a $100-per-flight user fee would significantly increase operational costs of general aviation across the board, Meier wanted the White House to know such an increase does not fly in Addison.
“The user fee would adversely impact medical services provided through GA airports like Addison,” Meier said. “We’re talking literally about life-saving efforts. It would cost more to reunite veterans with their families. Disaster relief, law enforcement – there would be so many consequences to user fees. That’s why we wanted to raise the issue.”
Not only would a user fee be an additional tax burden, he wrote in his letter to the president, “But it would impose a huge administrative burden on businesses, farms and organizations that use general aviation and [those operators] would have to literally keep track of invoices for fees for thousands of takeoffs and landings.”
After Meier sent the letter to the White House, he asked Addison Airport Director Joel Jenkinson to send it to more than 20 other Texas cities in hopes that their elected leaders would send similar messages of support for aviation to Washington.
Will it have any effect? NBAA Southwest Regional Representative Steve Hadley said he is “cautiously optimistic” that it will.
“When you talk about an industry that has this kind of economic impact – 1.2 million jobs and a contribution of more than $150 billion a year to the nation’s economy – it behooves [the Obama Administration] to pay heed,” Hadley said.
As for the folks in Addison, Hadley said they are certainly being noticed around the country.
“This shows that elected officials are aware of the value general aviation has to their communities. It’s remarkable and worth noting that they’re stepping up,” he added.
“At such a vulnerable time for our economy, we need to be doing everything we can to support jobs and help to stimulate our economy, not crippling an important industry which represents a lifeline to communities such as ours around the nation,” the letter concluded.