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English Opening Statement: Markup of FAA Extension Act & Airport & Airway Trust Fund Financing Act

September 18, 2007


I thank the Ranking Member for yielding time. 

I am pleased that this Committee has chosen to exercise its jurisdictional right to extend the range of taxes which fund the Airports and Airways Trust Fund.
As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue, I had the opportunity in subcommittee to hear from the major stakeholders on this issue. We have challenged the FAA “To provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.”  But the air traffic system is clogged and can not grow safely without implementing new technology.  America needs the Next Generation Air Transportation System, otherwise known as “Next Gen,” to alleviate congestion safely.

As you know, the aviation excise taxes which fund our Airport and Airway Trust Fund are exclusively within the domain of this Committee. This fact makes it incumbent on this Committee to ensure that these taxes are applied fairly and collected in a timely fashion with as little burden upon passengers as possible.

We will make a small step in this direction today. In marking up this 4-year extension of the aviation taxes, we provide time and an opportunity to do a more detailed study of the relative benefits and burdens of the current system. Mr. Chairman, that is a worthy endeavor and I ask that this Committee work to that end in the coming year.