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(Bloomberg)   Bright idea: the FAA should be funded by the people who actually use air travel   (bloomberg.com) divider line 73
    More: Obvious, Federal Aviation Administration, frequent flyers, rail transport, airlines  
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2049 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 May 2013 at 9:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-01 06:21:33 AM  
Have you ever got a package or a letter in the mail?  You use air travel, subby..
 
2013-05-01 06:26:11 AM  
Maybe the Feds could spend the $10B sitting in the airport trust funds? You know, all the money they collect as excise taxes on airline tickets?

Supposed to be used to fund airport expansion, but more convenient to let it sit and reduce the deficit.
 
2013-05-01 06:27:14 AM  
OR do away with it.  OK, so there will be a rise in crashes, but people will soon learn which airline still cares about maintenance and service. Natural selection, I think Darwin calls it
 
2013-05-01 06:40:50 AM  
I thought I used FAA services every time a jet didn't crash on my head.
 
2013-05-01 06:51:47 AM  

ManThatHurts: Have you ever got a package or a letter in the mail?  You use air travel, subby..


Unless you've shipped yourself, that's the U.S. Mail..another poorly-run government agency.  Point is anyone that uses air (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc) should be paying for the FAA...not the general fund.
 
2013-05-01 06:54:26 AM  

colinspooky: OR do away with it.  OK, so there will be a rise in crashes, but people will soon learn which airline still cares about maintenance and service. Natural selection, I think Darwin calls it


cdn.hark.com
 
2013-05-01 08:37:10 AM  
Just outsource it all to India. Sure, flying a 737 to Mumbai for basic maintenance might *seem* inefficient, but just think of the money saved evading regulations!

When a wing falls off and a loaded A320 slams into an apartment complex Uncle Sucker will still show up to scoop up the corpses while you're filing for bankruptcy and getting a new corporate identity in the Caymans. There's no risk!
 
2013-05-01 08:43:48 AM  
Haha, more Tea Party "I got mine" bullshiat. We all benefit from a safe, orderly air commerce system. Stop trying to sell off our good stuff, you assholes. It's NOT YOURS to sell off.
 
2013-05-01 08:46:37 AM  
People who don't fly -don't have an interest in Air Safety?

www.esquire.com
 
2013-05-01 08:51:13 AM  
Works for me - as long as patriotic Fark Independent™ Ma and Pa Kettle sorts who fly every once in a blue moon aren't allowed to purchase fares from the lowest four buckets, and are automatically placed in middle seats as close to the rear of the plane as possible, thus making the flying experience better for those of us who  really use air travel.  (In the last month, I've added pages to my passport, gotten 1 new visa and 9 new stamps, and it should have been 10 but apparently an immigration officer at LAX stamped his counter by mistake.)
 
2013-05-01 08:52:48 AM  

slayer199: ManThatHurts: Have you ever got a package or a letter in the mail?  You use air travel, subby..

Unless you've shipped yourself, that's the U.S. Mail..another poorly-run government agency.  Point is anyone that uses air (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc) should be paying for the FAA...not the general fund.


What about if someone sends you something via USPS, like a birthday card from a relative halfway across the country or a polka-dot vuvuzela you purchased online from some guy in California?
 
2013-05-01 08:54:41 AM  
And then you'll see the price for air travel and air shipping, along with the price of any goods shipped by air skyrocket.
 
2013-05-01 09:09:59 AM  

King Something: What about if someone sends you something via USPS, like a birthday card from a relative halfway across the country or a polka-dot vuvuzela you purchased online from some guy in California?


Yeesh.  I was being facetious.  Point is that people that use air travel should pay.  Granted, those shipping items or using the mail wouldn't contribute much (likely pennies on the dollar) but it's better than the current system.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-05-01 09:24:47 AM  
The federal government retains the ability to control our mobility as long as the FAA is financed with general tax revenue. ... Seventy percent of the FAA's spending in 2012 came from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is financed by user-fee-like taxes

I'm confused. The author says the FAA is mostly paid for by user fees and at the same time is financed by general tax revenue.
 
2013-05-01 09:26:39 AM  
If I don't use it I don't want to pay for it. Why? Because I'm a short-sighted selfish prick. Or a Republican. Whichever you prefer. Fark ya'll, I got mine
 
2013-05-01 09:41:50 AM  
So, we could save billions by  consolidating FAA facilities and upgrading the equipment, but instead this guy says "screw it, let's tax the fark out of travelers".
 
2013-05-01 09:47:18 AM  
Common Good sounds a lot like Communism Good. Next they will be forcing the Christians into the ovens.

Slippery slope sheeple! (ten times fast)
 
2013-05-01 10:07:59 AM  
Really though, shouldn't all regulatory agencies by fee funded.  I can see all of the reasons why we need the FFA and I don't really want it to go away, but the airlines, airports, and their passengers should be the one funding the FFA not the general taxpayers.

It is a slightly different issue, but my property taxes go to support two local airports and neither one has any commercial flights.
 
2013-05-01 10:20:01 AM  
So everyone pays, yes? because things like goods, mail, servicemen, etc are never moved by plane.
 
2013-05-01 10:26:01 AM  
People who use welfare should be the ones who fund welfare.

See, easy!!

Criminals who go to jail, should pay for the prisons and justice system... and cops as well!

We could do this all day. At the end of the day, it still amounts to charging more taxes for services to specific industry or people.

...and it's heavy duty stupid, too.
 
2013-05-01 10:36:54 AM  

ManThatHurts: Have you ever got a package or a letter in the mail?  You use air travel, subby..


came to say this.
 
2013-05-01 10:45:37 AM  
If we stopped subsidizing the airline industry from the general fund, the cost to fliers would increase, and rail travel would become a lot more appealing.

You know who this would screw over? People in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico that need to fly to the mainland regularly. Also business people in small towns that fly to larger cities a couple of times a week. You'd get some people that wind up moving, which would wind up hurting the economies of the places they're moving from.
 
2013-05-01 10:57:05 AM  
FTFA when a Rasmussen Reports poll

Stopped skimming the article right there.  This idiot seems to forget that more people than just commercial passengers use airports.  That includes hobbyists, cargo planes, privately own planes, etc.  And that many remote flight towers can't be paid with just user fees.
 
2013-05-01 10:58:14 AM  

DON.MAC: I thought I used FAA services every time a jet didn't crash on my head.


Ya, I basically came in here to say the same thing. I think we all benefit from not having planes falling out of the sky...
 
2013-05-01 10:58:18 AM  
So - seventy percent of the FAA's operating budget came from taxes and fees.

But the article mentions that replacing the mix of current taxes and fees with a "per segment" charge of $35 would not only cover that, but fund the FAA and TSA 100%.

In real terms, it would increase the cost of a one-way ticket by about $20.

This isn't a huge amount.
 
2013-05-01 10:59:56 AM  
My car needs shocks and brakes.  Seeing as safety is everyone's business....
 
2013-05-01 11:03:39 AM  

ManThatHurts: Have you ever got a package or a letter in the mail?  You use air travel, subby..


and roads and trains and waterways and everyone who owns a car

it is so cute when people forget these things
 
2013-05-01 11:17:16 AM  
A flat tax of $35 per flight would decimate the sales of short routes.  People would just switch to driving.  Instead, levy a tax based on a percentage.

And if you're going to stop funding air travel from the general budget, then it is time to do the same with driving by bumping the gas tax and instituting tolls on the most expensive stretches of roads.
 
2013-05-01 11:30:29 AM  
Dinjiin:
And if you're going to stop funding air travel from the general budget, then it is time to do the same with driving by bumping the gas tax and instituting tolls on the most expensive stretches of roads.

We already do that. The mix of taxes and fees on gasoline and registrations and other use taxes more than cover our current spending on highways and roads. The problem is that the government has made a habit of using that huge pile of money to cover a whole lot of other things, like grants for bus service and lots of other programs, so the overall program is in deficit.

Tolls also tend to be abused. For example, there's a nice toll road about a half mile from here. It was originally built in 1973, and was made a toll road to pay for construction. After the road was paid for, the tolls were supposed to stop (with support and repair paid by general highway funds).

As of today, 40 years later, it has long been paid for - and they're still charging tolls.
 
2013-05-01 11:41:01 AM  
Yes, let's sell the air transit system to the airlines.  That'll work well for every else that uses the nation's skies.  With one year they'd be giving green cards to thousands of foreign pilots because flight training would be exorbitant here.

What, did Mitch Daniels dream this one up?  I guess not because he'd sell the infrastructure to foreign companies.
 
2013-05-01 12:09:09 PM  

colinspooky: OR do away with it.  OK, so there will be a rise in crashes, but people will soon learn which airline still cares about maintenance and service. Natural selection, I think Darwin calls it


I know you aren't being serious, but I do wonder if the sort of automation that they've been putting in really won't make them redundant in the near future. We've already got aircraft that don't need any pilot intervention from takeoff to landing. If we extend the same technological concepts that Google has been working on to make cars self-driving, maybe we actually can take humans out of the loop or, at the minimum, reduce their presence to a bare necessity (plus some margin for safety's sake).
 
2013-05-01 12:32:06 PM  

Aarontology: And then you'll see the price for air travel and air shipping, along with the price of any goods shipped by air skyrocket.


I'm the libbiest lib that ever libbed a lib.  And i say:

[Imokaywiththis.jpg]
 
2013-05-01 12:34:55 PM  

cirby: We already do that. The mix of taxes and fees on gasoline and registrations and other use taxes more than cover our current spending on highways and roads


Over the past few years, there has been a transfer of over $30B from the federal general fund to the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent.  There have also been a number of stimulus bills that use money from the general fund, including $11B in 2009.  At the state level, it is incredibly common to see a sales tax surcharge help pay for state expressways and highways.  Fuel, use and excise taxes rarely cover the full amount.


cirby: Tolls also tend to be abused.


Then you state sucks.  My home state has a clause in its constitution that requires the elimination of tolls once a project has been paid for.
 
2013-05-01 12:45:24 PM  

mr_a: Maybe the Feds could spend the $10B sitting in the airport trust funds? You know, all the money they collect as excise taxes on airline tickets?

Supposed to be used to fund airport expansion, but more convenient to let it sit and reduce the deficit.


Airplane gas taxes. Whether you're a private pilot or flying scheduled air transport you end up paying for it.
 
2013-05-01 12:50:06 PM  

ManThatHurts: Have you ever got a package or a letter in the mail?  You use air travel, subby..


And the cost of the air travel used should be folded into the cost of mail (i.e., the post office pays for the use of the system and passes that along through postal rates).  Same applies to FedEx, UPS, etc.  The only users that should be funded directly by taxpayers are government travel and military use (but those costs should be allocated to those agency's budgets).  I don't get why this isn't obvious.

I know people will try to apply the same logic to roads, rail, electric utilities, and other infrastructure, and if we were able to parse costs finely and efficiently enough they might have a point, but these other infrastructure components run widely and deeply throughout our economy, conferring benefits far and wide, whereas air travel chiefly confers benefits directly on users, and far less substantially on non-users.
 
2013-05-01 12:52:44 PM  
Dinjin:
Over the past few years, there has been a transfer of over $30B from the federal general fund to the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent.

...and the reason for that is that they've been pulling even MORE money out of the Highway Trust Fund. The income from the taxes that feed the fund has been shunted off to hundreds of side projects that have little to do with what the trust fund is for.

There have also been a number of stimulus bills that use money from the general fund, including $11B in 2009.

...and those "stimulus" projects tend to be for things that, to be honest, aren't needed for highway spending. Yeah, they may replace a bridge, or widen a road, but most of the projects tend to the "Bridge to Nowhere" side.

When you look at the "highways and roads" spending versus the amount the Highway Trust Fund takes in, it's pretty stable. It's only when Congress dips into the HTF for outside projects that the balance shrinks.
 
2013-05-01 12:57:38 PM  

cirby: When you look at the "highways and roads" spending versus the amount the Highway Trust Fund takes in, it's pretty stable. It's only when Congress dips into the HTF for outside projects that the balance shrinks.


You still fail to address the use of general funds to pay for state and local roads.
 
2013-05-01 12:58:24 PM  
Mr. Coffee Nerves

Just outsource it all to India. Sure, flying a 737 to Mumbai for basic maintenance might *seem* inefficient, but just think of the money saved evading regulations!

Remind me again, what's Quantas' safety record again?
 
2013-05-01 01:00:09 PM  

LesserEvil: People who use welfare should be the ones who fund welfare.

See, easy!!

Criminals who go to jail, should pay for the prisons and justice system... and cops as well!

We could do this all day. At the end of the day, it still amounts to charging more taxes for services to specific industry or people.

...and it's heavy duty stupid, too.


Poor analogy.  Welfare is exactly that - a system to improve the general welfare by providing support to those least able to support themselves (whether and to what extent it does that is a different discussion), but welfare is designed as a redistribution system, so it cannot be funded by it's "users."

The penal system most definitely does NOT benefit the criminals, it benefits society at large (or at least it's supposed to).  That's who pays for the system.
 
2013-05-01 01:13:22 PM  

LesserEvil: People who use welfare should be the ones who fund welfare.

See, easy!!

Criminals who go to jail, should pay for the prisons and justice system... and cops as well!

We could do this all day. At the end of the day, it still amounts to charging more taxes for services to specific industry or people.

...and it's heavy duty stupid, too.


Do you really fail to see the difference among public goods, services provided by government entities to specific individuals, and public aid (welfare)?
 
2013-05-01 01:14:10 PM  

Some 'Splainin' To Do: I know you aren't being serious, but I do wonder if the sort of automation that they've been putting in really won't make them redundant in the near future. We've already got aircraft that don't need any pilot intervention from takeoff to landing. If we extend the same technological concepts that Google has been working on to make cars self-driving, maybe we actually can take humans out of the loop or, at the minimum, reduce their presence to a bare necessity (plus some margin for safety's sake).


It's an instance where the technology that could facilitate it will be there long before the technology could feasibly be implemented due to the financial burden it would put on private pilots and small business operators.  ADS-B is a good comparison. I think it was 2008 that the FAA announced its implementation. They mandated that by 2020 [almost] all planes in the U.S. would have to be equipped with certain technology. That's a gap of 12 years so pilots/operators had time to plan how they were going to afford and implement it.

The upgrade to ADS-B is probably several thousand dollars per aircraft (more/less depending on what's already in the plane). Upgrading to any technology that would get rid of ATC would cost far, far more per plane. Probably tens of thousands. So if they ever did decide to go that route, I would expect a gap of decades between when the technology could be implemented and when the technology actually gets implemented.
 
2013-05-01 01:17:33 PM  

Dinjiin: cirby: We already do that. The mix of taxes and fees on gasoline and registrations and other use taxes more than cover our current spending on highways and roads

Over the past few years, there has been a transfer of over $30B from the federal general fund to the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent.  There have also been a number of stimulus bills that use money from the general fund, including $11B in 2009.  At the state level, it is incredibly common to see a sales tax surcharge help pay for state expressways and highways.  Fuel, use and excise taxes rarely cover the full amount.


cirby: Tolls also tend to be abused.

Then you state sucks.  My home state has a clause in its constitution that requires the elimination of tolls once a project has been paid for.



So does mine, but that didn't stop the legislature.
 
2013-05-01 01:20:28 PM  

Aarontology: And then you'll see the price for air travel and air shipping, along with the price of any goods shipped by air skyrocket.


Total FAA budget request for FY2014 is $18.5 billion. That's everything the FAA does.

For the sake of simplicity, let's charge each revenue generating flight by the mile in the air an equal amount (not fair but simple for illustrative purposes) - from Feb 2012 to Jan 2013 there were 7,103,433,000 revenue miles flown. That works out to $2.61 per mile, however, we're also going to eliminate all other FAA funding taxes with this new tax because we're going to fund the FAA 100% from it.

We could just stick it to passengers and charge based on revenue passenger mile - 2.21 cents per mile. So your flight from JFK to LAX now has a $54.70 tax in place of $32.15 (example RT price of $371 search on ITA Matrix today). So an extra $22 for a 2475 mile flight is not a real deal breaker even on the cheapest fare - and that's assuming passengers are the only ones to pay. If you spread the cost to cargo and charge back the DoD and private operators for services you may even come out ahead for passengers paying on a per mile basis.
 
2013-05-01 01:29:19 PM  
Dinjin:
You still fail to address the use of general funds to pay for state and local roads.

Those "general funds" come from road and use taxes. States and cities also have taxes and fees - yes, on gasoline and other things - that more than cover the cost of local and state roads. Road costs come out of the "general fund" because most states take the taxes collected on cars and trucks and feed that money into the same fund.

Governments collect a LOT of money from gasoline and other vehicle-related taxes, you just don't notice it because it's not on a separate line item when you fill up.
 
2013-05-01 01:38:14 PM  

ZAZ: The federal government retains the ability to control our mobility as long as the FAA is financed with general tax revenue. ... Seventy percent of the FAA's spending in 2012 came from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is financed by user-fee-like taxes

I'm confused. The author says the FAA is mostly paid for by user fees and at the same time is financed by general tax revenue.



That money comes from a subtantial aviation fuel tax which is a fair way to charge for the services used.  But that doens't penalize "rich pilots" enough.
 
2013-05-01 01:40:33 PM  
The problem with these fee-for-use schemes is that they never seem to actually lower taxes.  They seem to me- and hey I'm just a layman here, no expert or anything- that they're a way of sneaking in higher taxes while selling it to the public as a general reduction.  But again, I'm just a layman here.  No expert or anything.
 
2013-05-01 01:48:23 PM  

OnlyM3: Mr. Coffee Nerves

Just outsource it all to India. Sure, flying a 737 to Mumbai for basic maintenance might *seem* inefficient, but just think of the money saved evading regulations!
Remind me again, what's Quantas' safety record again?


Much better than when they were flying prop planes.
 
2013-05-01 02:09:40 PM  
I don't have kids but my taxes are going towards education. I don't have ovarian cancer but I heard the government is funding research to combat it. Derp derp derpy derpy-derp de derp derppity...
 
2013-05-01 02:21:54 PM  
Russ1642:
I don't have kids but my taxes are going towards education. I don't have ovarian cancer but I heard the government is funding research to combat it. Derp derp derpy derpy-derp de derp derppity...

The bad side effect of having a government collect all of the money into a general fund and dole it out piecemeal is that it gets too easy (as tillerman35 notes) to bury a helluva lot of nonessential projects among the things that are supposedly paid for by the users.

I have no problem with having a specific use tax for the things I use, in addition to the regular tax expenses in the general fund going for useful projects. If someone never uses a car and never flies a plane, then I have no problem with them not paying for a specific thing they don't use. Even if they don't, they still pay a certain amount in indirect taxes when things get shipped to them by air or road.

Usage fees are a great way for the normal citizen to sorta keep tabs on what they're spending, without having to track down the tiny details in the bureaucracy. A gas tax of ten/15/25/50 cents per gallon? Easy to keep in mind. A per-flight tax of X%? Sure. A certain part of my paycheck to pay for my Social Security? Fine with that - if they'd actually set that money aside for later (they started dinging that "lockbox" long ago).
 
2013-05-01 02:50:39 PM  
What's the ratio of passenger flights to all other flights? I ask because I'm surprised that passengers, not airlines, are the ones on the hook. This is like asking folks who ride buses to foot the bill for the friggin' highway system.

There are more than 87,000 flights a day in the U.S., and only about a third of those are flights from commercial carriers. Plane owners, not plane passengers, should be covering those charges - nearly 60% of the flights in the U.S. are either private planes or planes for hire.

Commercial passengers are being asked to foot a bill so that rich private plane owners and those who take personal flights don't have to pay as much. Owning a plane, not flying in one, is what should be the criteria here - yes, it will raise the cost of owning a private plane, which is the friggin' point.
 
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