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Aviation Leaders Join Top Senators In Support Of FAA Bill Tax Measures

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

06 May 2008

The senior Senators on the tax-writing Finance Committee have teamed up with general aviation and highway industry leaders to stress the need for key tax provisions in the pending Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Finance Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) led a news conference with transport industry representatives to stress the importance of the tax title developed by the Committee in its FAA bill last September.

This would provide funding for the FAA’s NextGen satellite air traffic control system, designed to improve safety and efficiency in air travel, and make the system current with those in Europe and elsewhere. The tax title also restores USD5bn to the depleted US highway trust fund, to enable vital infrastructure repairs and new projects.

“Every American air traveler is relying on an overloaded, outdated, radar system to get in the air on time and safely back on the ground. The highway trust fund is short, and states are putting off vital repairs and new projects."

"The Finance Committee crafted a tax title for the FAA bill to give all Americans access to safer skies, safer roads, and good-paying infrastructure jobs here at home,” commented Baucus.

“The Senate should move quickly to pass this comprehensive FAA bill, with Finance-provided funds to improve air traffic control and to jump-start important highway projects," he added.

“This legislation makes a vital contribution to securing and strengthening the transportation infrastructure needed for our economy and quality of life in America,” Grassley observed.

Supporters joining the Senators on Thursday included leaders from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the General Aviation Manufacturing Association (GAMA), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Commenting on behalf of AOPA, Phil Boyer, the association's President, stated that: “The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association congratulates and thanks Chairman Baucus and Senator Grassley for their leadership in crafting an FAA reauthorization bill that ensures modernization of the air traffic control system, provides needed funds for airport improvement, and enhances safety."

"But, of most importance to AOPA members, their bill does this through the current system of aviation taxes that have generated a stable and reliable funding stream for 40 years.”

GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce announced that: “We are grateful to Chairman Baucus for his tremendous leadership in reaching out to all segments of the aviation industry to find common ground that will increase funding for air traffic control modernization."

"Working with Senators Rockefeller, Grassley and Hutchison, Senator Baucus was able to craft an equitable solution that ensures a robust aviation trust fund through an efficient general aviation fuel tax mechanism.”

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen remarked: “Senators Baucus and Grassley have used their collaborative approach to working with other Members of the Senate to produce a bill that is clearly in the best interests of the United States and everyone who depends on aviation, including general aviation. We're grateful for their hard work and leadership on this issue.”

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