In a Notice published today, the FAA is providing information regarding its goals for funding the Aviation Trust Fund, as well as information regarding the FAA’s ongoing operational costs and funding sources. The current taxes and fees funding the Aviation Trust Fund and which provide funding for the National Aviation System, are only authorized through September 30, 2007.
According to the FAA, its goal is that “[t]he new financing structure should generate stable and predictable revenue, maintain the appropriate levels of service, and enable FAA to make long-term investments and tie revenues raised for the system to the infrastructure and operational costs of the system.” The Notice also talks about possible user fees for funding the system. But before a decision is made on that source of funding, “the FAA seeks stakeholder input in order to fully consider principles such as marginal system use, use of congested space and scarce resources, aircraft weight, distance, and other criteria. The allocation rules, of course, must be applied with transparency and would need to be validated by the user community.”
The Notice states that the FAA wants to come up with a proposal for funding that “has stakeholder support”. In order to try and generate that support, the FAA has made a “stakeholder package” available on its website here that “contains data packages on the Air Traffic Organization including technical background and supporting detail, Airports, Aviation Safety, and International Aviation. Also included are questions regarding: 1. Providing the Right Types of ATC Services; 2. Revisions to Current Tax System; 3. Other Funding Alternatives for Cost Recovery of ATC Services and Cost Allocation; 4. General Fund Questions; 5. Airport Related Issues; 6. Charging for Certification and Other FAA Services; 7. Lessons Learned from Other Countries.”
This is your opportunity to review the FAA’s information, to analyze whether its financial assumptions are accurate, to provide input regarding funding of the system in general, and to specifically address the issue of user fees. You can bet the aviation alphabet groups will give the FAA their input and feedback. You should give the FAA your input as well. If you would like further information, you can contact Robert E. Robeson, Manager, Systems and Policy Analysis Division, Office of Aviation Policy and Plans, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591.