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NBAA LETTER TO THE EDITOR AS PUBLISHED USA Today

February 21, 2008

Air system upgrades

Ed Bolen, president and CEO, National Business Aviation Association - Washington

In parroting the big airlines' distortions about funding for updates on the aviation system, USA TODAY's recent editorial overlooks several important facts ("Give fliers a break," Our view, Air travel debate, Feb. 13).

For starters, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's own data, the general aviation community pays nearly three times as much in taxes for use of the system than the editorial recognizes.

And, like everyone in general aviation, the aircraft owners with the National Business Aviation Association's 8,000 member companies have accepted that all aviation stakeholders will need to pay more for system upgrades.

The question is how much more and how to pay for the improvements?

The general aviation community is willing to help pay for transforming the system through our existing, efficient and proven "pay-at-the-pump" fuel tax mechanism.

What we don't want is to be required to abandon this time-tested payment method for a new, inefficient and untested user-fee system. This untested system typically involves an army of billing agents, auditors and collection agents, not to mention the reams of invoices and other red tape.

NBAA LETTER TO THE EDITOR AS SUBMITTED

February 15, 2008

Mr. Brent Jones
Letters Editor
USA Today
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108-0605

[email protected]

To the Editor:

In parroting the big airlines' mistruths and distortions about funding for aviation system modernization, your recent editorial ("Give fliers a break," Feb. 13) overlooks several important facts.

For starters, according to the FAA's own data, the general aviation community (made up of people who fly mostly small aircraft not used by the airlines or military) pays nearly triple in taxes for use of the system than the editorial recognizes. And, like everyone in general aviation, the aircraft owners with NBAA's 8,000 member companies have long understood that all aviation stakeholders will need to pay more for system upgrades.

The question is how much more, and how to pay for the improvements? The general aviation community is willing to help pay for transforming the system through our existing, efficient and proven "pay-at-the-pump" fuel tax mechanism for funding the FAA and system modernization. We don't want to be required to abandon this time-tested payment method for a new, inefficient and untested user fee system, which typically involves an army of billing agents, auditors and collection agents, and reams of invoices and other red tape.

Fortunately, two Congressional proposals have been offered that addresses these concerns. The proposals, H.R. 2881 and S.2345, have our support because they tie additional general aviation tax contributions directly to system modernization, while wisely avoiding the creation of what will surely become a giant, expensive and overly burdensome user fee bureaucracy.

It's unfortunate that USA Today's editorial on aviation system modernization, a topic of great importance to anyone who flies, focused so much on alleged winners and losers in the funding debate, instead of supporting effective solutions for providing much-needed improvements to the nation's air traffic infrastructure.

Sincerely,

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association