User fees were supposed to be off the table, but the Obama Administration says that it needs the money to help reduce the deficit, despite the federal excise taxes we are already paying through fuel sales. The Obama Administration wants to charge a $100-per-flight fee for use of air traffic services, claiming that the fee would both “ensure that everyone is paying their fair share” and help reduce the deficit. If a separate user fee was put into place, not only would it hurt the air transportation and aviation industries, but it would create an expensive new bureaucracy to fix what isn’t broken.
The existing system of revenue generation, collected through excise taxes, allows more of the revenue collected to go toward the operation of the air traffic control system.
Fuel taxes more accurately reflect the amount of ATC services being used based on the distance of a flight. The longer the flight, the more ATC services used, and the more fuel used, increasing the amount of federal excise tax collected.