Sunday, May 03, 2009

FAA History Lesson -- May 3 (2009)

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”May 3, 1994: Vice President Albert Gore and Transportation Secretary Federico Peña announced the Clinton Administration’s proposal to create a new Air Traffic Services Corporation to operate, maintain, and modernize the air traffic system. (See Sep 7, 1993, and Jan 6, 1994.)

Under the proposal, 38,000 FAA employees involved in providing air traffic services would become part of a new not-for-profit government corporation. Support for the corporation would be derived from fees levied upon commercial aviation, subject to approval by the Department of Transportation. The Department would maintain additional oversight through membership on the corporation’s board of directors, on which airspace users would also be represented. FAA would continue to exercise safety oversight over civil aviation, including the new corporation.

On the same day that Gore and Peña unveiled the plan, President Clinton wrote letters urging Congress to make the new corporation a reality. During the following months, however, Congress considered a variety of plans for restructuring FAA. These proposals included calls to make the agency independent of the Department of Transportation. (See Sep 12, 1995.) “

It all seems so hard to remember now. Remember when President Clinton said, “The era of big government is over“ ? Thirteen years later, we’re still arguing over two little words -- “User Fess”. Perhaps you noticed a subtle difference in the words above; “ fees levied upon commercial aviation”. As you all know, “commercial aviation” tried to rope General Aviation into the process by claiming that they weren’t paying their “fair share” and the issue has been tied in knots ever since.

Don Brown
May 3, 2009

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