June 29, 2007
A large victory for Alaskan pilots was won when, after many key talks between Rep. Young and other Members of the Committee, the bill came to mark up without the anticipated "user fee" provision which would have proved especially detrimental to General Aviation.
Provisions that are deemed favorable for Alaskans in this bill included language that will allow land from Anchorage's Merrill Field to be used to expand the Glenn Highway and an amendment which will direct the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and the FAA to resume negotiations immediately on contract renewal. After 45 days, the parties will be sent back to the negotiating table under procedures established in this amendment. In addition, the standard age of retirement for pilots was increased from 60 to 65.
After the mark up concluded, Rep. Young said, "I am very satisfied with the way this bill has turned out. That the user fee was not included in the final bill is key for Alaskan pilots. In a state like Alaska, where many flights make the 'milk run' across the state, having to pay every time you touched down in an airport, could put a small airliner out of business." He said, "As those who live in Alaska know, the small airliners are what get us around the State."
Young said, "I am also very pleased that we are able to send NATCA and the FAA back to the bargaining table to hopefully hammer out an agreement." He said, "As a frequent flyer myself, I want to know that rested, competent air traffic controllers are at the helm." This amendment will make sure these contracts are handled in the fairest way possible said Young. "General aviation is such a big part of our state's backbone and we need to make sure we have the best people and the best procedures to keep it up and running."
This bill is a non-financing bill. From here it will head to the House Committee on Ways and Means to receive the necessary funding. In lieu of user fees, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has made the recommendation to the Ways and Means Committee that fuel taxes be raised by several cents to account for inflation.
Source of News:
Publish A Letter on SitNews Read Letters/Opinions