February 15, 2012

Obama Budget Would Cut Airline, Airport Funding

The new Obama administration budget proposal, released on Monday, had general aviation advocates worried about user fees, but other aviation sectors have also found cause for concern. The Air Line Pilots Association was unhappy about proposed cuts of $36 million from the Federal Air Marshal Service and $13 million from the federal flight deck officer program, which trains volunteer pilots to carry firearms on board.

Lee Moak, president of ALPA, said funding for the FFDO program is already "minimal," and any further reduction "could very well lead to its ultimate demise." Airlines would face increased security fees, as well as a $100 departure fee to help cover the cost of the air traffic control system. Funding for improvements at medium and large airports would be cut by 27 percent.

 Airline travelers, under the proposal, would pay up to $25.5 billion in fees over the next 10 years, with the goal of covering the costs of aviation security through user fees "and not by the general taxpayers," according to the budget plan. However, $18 billion of those fees would go to pay down general government debt, not to provide security, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's widely expected that most of these proposals will be rejected by Congress, and the budget plan will never be enacted in its current form.


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