I understand that negotiations on a final version of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization legislation, H.R. 1586, have been completed and that the bill includes a $1.00 hike in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), a tax charged to commercial airline customers. On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union, I urge you to oppose an FAA reauthorization that potentially adds billions to the already-high tax burdens faced by air travelers. Roll call votes on a bill containing such tax hikes will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.
While the PFC was designed to enhance airport capacity and functionality, its funds are unfortunately too often diverted to subsidize non-essential programs. In addition, capital development programs already receive large sums money for the purposes of airport improvement. The Government Accountability Office estimated, in a March 2007 report, that airports received an average of $13 billion each year from all sources for planned capital development over the period 2001-2005 – hardly a massive shortchanging of the aviation community.
Commercial airline passengers often confront total air travel tax loads of 20 percent or more. Instead of adding to the already crushing taxes shouldered by air passengers, lawmakers should focus more intensively on air traffic control reform. A private sector-driven model would allow the aviation industry to attract the best and brightest managers and engineers who could implement complex technology projects that facilitate better safety, cost control, and modernization – bringing us much closer to the first-class system our economy needs for future growth.
The American people and our economy rely on the commercial airline industry. Raising the cost of an air travel ticket during this extremely difficult economic recovery is unwise and unacceptable. NTU urges a "NO" vote on an FAA reauthorization containing a hike in the Passenger Facility Charge, and any roll call votes on this legislation will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.
Director of Government Affairs