Recently, the administration submitted a proposal for reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the excise taxes that fund most of its budget. FAA's current authorization expires in 6 months. The proposal calls for major changes to FAA's funding and budget structure that are intended to address concerns about the long-term revenue adequacy, equity, and efficiency of FAA's current funding structure and to provide a more stable, reliable basis for funding a new air traffic control system that FAA is developing (at an estimated cost of $15 billion to 22 billion through 2025) to meet forecasted increases in air travel demand. The proposal would introduce cost-based charges for commercial users of air traffic control services, eliminate many current taxes, substantially raise fuel taxes for general aviation users, charge commercial and general aviation users a fuel tax to pay primarily for airport capital improvements, modify FAA's budget accounts to align with specific FAA activities, and link the portion of FAA's budget that comes from the Treasury's General Fund with public benefits FAA provides. This statement offers GAO's observations on the proposed changes in FAA's (1) funding and (2) budget structure and is based on GAO's analysis of FAA's proposal and a recent GAO report on FAA funding options.
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