It’s always sumthin’…

Here’s a tip of the wing to the Obama Administration.

In the Administration’s initiation into the Presidential Circle of User-Fee Proposers the authors at least hit on an honest justification — We, the royal “We” of Americans, need the money.

Thanks for not setting off on that old, discredited canard about general aviation not paying its fair share.

What a relief! Revisiting that would be as much fun as watching more reruns of my colonoscopy — except without the drug-induced giggling.

Still, we must give a thumbs down to this user-fee idea.

Yes, wasteful, unnecessary or overly generous programs need hard looks at justifying their existence and the public’s contribution to same. Funding the FAA is not one of them.

The fee proposal also fails the long-held user-pays standard; we pay already — and at a level directly proportional to how fast and how often we fly.

That’s those excise taxes we pay on aviation fuels, Jet A and AvGas.

It’s simple, straightforward, proportional, and fair.

Fly something that burns 10 gallons an hour and pay just under two bucks an hour into the Airport and Airways Trust Fund — by which the bulk of FAA’s costs are covered.

Fly something that hits FL410 and Mach 0.80 on fuel flowing at 900 an hour, well, you pay nearly $200 an hour in fuel taxes…yeah…an hour… Fly 150 hours a year in that bird and the annual dollar figure rises to about $30,000. Yeah…$30,000.

Ironic thing, too: the pilot of the 10-an-hour airplane likely never talks to a controller. But we pay more or less willingly pay because we need things like Flight Service weather forecasts and briefings, airport and aircraft inspections, navaid checks and more. Even when we don’t talk to ATC.

That jet, however, must use ATC services and crew tend to start tapping those services from before engine start, throughout the flight to even after shutdown.

And they pay a lot.

We know the Trust Fund needs more and GA has already agreed to higher fuel taxes already. They’re in the floundering FAA re-authorization bill.

Get Congress to finish that and NOT give us a 23rd Continuing Resolution to keep open the FAA and watch the revenues increase.

And lets all help get Americans back to work and back into their airplanes; that will do its part to improve our economy and add to the Trust Fund coffers.

But when the best thing to say about this new $100-fee idea is, “Its original,” that’s not saying much and not solving our problem.