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FAA would end ticket tax, raise other fees for air traffic system

February 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration's long-awaited plan to pay for a new, high-tech air traffic control system would eliminate the passenger ticket tax but raise other costs for people who fly.

The Federal Aviation Administration will unveil its proposal today. The announcement is expected to touch off a fierce debate between airlines, which support the concept, and owners of corporate jets and private aircraft, who will pay more to fly in the national air space.

The FAA hasn't said exactly how much it expects a modernized system to cost. But FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey said the current way of paying for air traffic control -- the 7.5% passenger ticket tax -- won't generate the billions of dollars needed.

The ticket tax is inadequate partly because of the growth of low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines and partly because the average airplane has gotten smaller and carries fewer passengers, the FAA says. It costs the FAA as much to direct a small airplane as it does to move a jumbo jet.

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