White house budget framework has $800m for NextGen, hints at user fees

from Aviation Week:

The [Obama administration] budget framework mentions $800 million for the NextGen air traffic modernization effort, although it did not detail which programs this would cover or how much of an increase it represents.

The administration also dropped something of a bombshell in a footnote, saying the budget “proposes repealing some aviation excise taxes and replacing [them] with direct user charges.” While no other details were offered, this could revive the user-fee debate that arose in the last administration.

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) notes that the budget “appears to propose some type of aviation user fee.” Although he will “reserve judgment” until more details emerge, he noted that user fees have been “proposed several times in the past by…various administrations, and have not been adopted by Congress.” Oberstar believes “the current system of aviation excise taxes has proven to be a stable and efficient source of funding for our aviation system.”

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