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Thread: New user fee state of Alaska

  1. #121
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Not all rural airport commerce and resulting airport maintenance involves passengers and ticketing: https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...=.d6da43c125ce

    It's there to support commercial enterprise and local residents. The question that needs addressing is how and why private aircraft fit into the DOT&PF's funding process for maintaining rural airports.

    Gary
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  2. #122
    jwmusgrove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    It’s far more likely that rural pilots and passengers will travel through the big airports. Why should they be exempt from sharing in the costs of our airports while the city dwellers are being taxed to support rural airports they’ll never use?
    This is so untrue. In over 20 years I don't recall my Cub EVER landing at a State funded airport. Unless you start including river bars, glaciers and mountain tops. I may travel through a "big airport", on foot trying to catch a ride to Seattle.

    I also do not appreciate the attempt to separate rural from urban pilots and pit them against one another.

    The problem is we have 6 figure bureaucrats playing grab-a$$ into 4 special sessions, refusing to cut spending in the hopes oil will rebound to 75$/bbl and they can continue to skate. This is not rocket science.
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  3. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwmusgrove View Post
    This is so untrue. In over 20 years I don't recall my Cub EVER landing at a State funded airport. Unless you start including river bars, glaciers and mountain tops. I may travel through a "big airport", on foot trying to catch a ride to Seattle.

    I also do not appreciate the attempt to separate rural from urban pilots and pit them against one another.

    The problem is we have 6 figure bureaucrats playing grab-a$$ into 4 special sessions, refusing to cut spending in the hopes oil will rebound to 75$/bbl and they can continue to skate. This is not rocket science.
    The same statement is true of my airplanes that are tied down at Lake Hood. I don't fly to rural airports. Very few of the guys I know in Anchorage do. Yet 100% of any registration fee will go to funding rural airports, and that does not include Lake Hood or Merrill Field. If a tax is imminent I'd prefer it was fairly levied. The registration fee proposal falls short of achieving that.

  4. #124
    jwmusgrove's Avatar
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    All my airplanes just developed a flat tire. Next time I get one of those forms from the FAA, they all are under restoration.
    Snort.

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    It’s far more likely that rural pilots and passengers will travel through the big airports. Why should they be exempt from sharing in the costs of our airports while the city dwellers are being taxed to support rural airports they’ll never use?
    I may have misunderstood your post, but that sounds kind of like saying that why should I pay taxes for snow removal on roads I don't drive on? That's kind of the whole point of taxes, isn't it? We all pull together and get things done for everyone, not simply for ourselves? But then, I have a pretty simple and generalized view of social issues, so I'm probably wrong.
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur
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  6. #126
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    We support highways via current taxes on motor fuel for vehicles that use them. In Alaska those that don't use highways don't pay taxes directly for their support (boats for example), but may pay an alternative tax: http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/p...dex.aspx?60210 Now what happens in rural Alaska for taxation on ATV and snowmachine fuel I have no idea.

    An early Governor's plan for tax increases on motor fuel: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2016...udget-deficit/ Note that refined fuel costs more in Alaska prior to taxation than most other US locations.

    And a review from last March of the possible cost increases of a motor fuel tax on aircraft: https://blog.aopa.org/aopa/2017/03/0...el-tax-change/

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 12-04-2017 at 07:59 PM.
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  7. #127
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Please review this Airmen Issue Briefing of the proposed aircraft registration and fee schedule from the Alaska Airmen's Association. It sums up the issues.

    https://www.alaskaairmen.org/advocacy/

    Gary

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    ...As much as I hate to say it, it is time for a rate increase in the ticket prices of bush flying to pay for the cost of maintaining the airstrips. Fuel fees?
    Yes, we need to be charged more for that .5 trip to town. $600/hr isn't enough for a half loaded clapped out 207.
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  9. #129

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    Any news on this past weekend's meeting in ANC?

    v/r
    Bryan

  10. #130
    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    I have been watching this thread. I probably should keep my mouth shut. But what the heck? I've looked to Alaska as the greatest achievment one could ever hope to strive for being a "real, no b.s., stick and rudder, high wind, low ceiling, heavily loaded, mountain flying" bush pilot. Now it seams its the new fad, and govt (wether fed, state, or local)is trying to profit on it or screw it up? I hope im wrong because someday, if im ever good enough, and Alaska doesnt end up a resort, im a coming!
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers
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  11. #131
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    Alaska Airman's Ass. posted the saturday meeting video on their Facebook page. Worth watching all 2 hours of it.

    DOT makes some egregious errors in statements:
    Staff only at the 19 certificated Rural Airports. Not true- DOT employees do maintain many of the airports, but there are also contracts for some of the work, snow plowing and such, at others. However, they still have someone in their organization responsible for oversight of the contractors.

    Fuel Tax/Fuel flow: There are both here in the state. Fuel flow fees go directly to the airport system they are obtained from- International or Rural. Fuel flow for all rural airports is $.05/gallon, that rate has been raised only once in many years.

    The state is NOT required to direct registration fees to the airports, as the fee is not derived from the airport. As many say, just because you have a plane does not mean you fly off of the state's airport. The fees will be at the legislature's mercy.


    I have more stuff, but it gives you an idea. Again, as users, we need to come up with specific ways to reduce the $40 million cost of the rural airports. That may mean reducing some airports, closing runways... if we don't drive the train it will run us over.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  12. #132

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    Long post...here is a copy of my public comments sent to AKDOT and my legislators.

    v/r
    Bryan

    1.
    TheAlaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has proposed anaircraft registration for aircraft owned and based in Alaska. In the Additional Regulation NoticeInformation dated 3 Nov 2017 the reasons for the registration are to 1) complywith Federal Aviation Administration requests and 2) to generate new revenue.


    a. Theproposed statue is 17 AAC 41.010-41.060, 41.900, 41.990, 45.910. The cited statutes listed at the para. 2 appearto be in error and 45.910 appears to be a typo. Alaska statutes cited as the basis allowing this new process are 17 AAC02.15.190, 02.15.220, 02.15.230, 44.42.020, and 44.42.030.

    b. TheAviation Department wants to begin a state aircraft registration requiring allaircraft owners to register yearly. Theproposed cost is $150 yearly for private aircraft and $250 yearly forcommercial aircraft. In a public meeting held on 14 Nov in Fairbanks, Mr. JohnBinder stated the program benefits as:
    1. Determinethe number, location, and type of aircraft across the state to assist inairport system development and capacity.
    2. Determinebased aircraft locations across the state, providing aviation systems planninginformation.
    3. Createsthe ability to communicate news, potential emergencies, or meetings withaircraft owners.
    4. PhaseII: Streamlining the air carrier certificate of compliance program.

    Alaska has 9256aircraft registered with the FAA. Theproposal cites the following estimated income: Non-commercial $1,357,050
    Commercial $52,250
    Total $1,409,300
    The AdditionalRegulation Notice Information estimates the cost to operate the program will be$51,000 the first year and $5,000 yearly in subsequent years.

    2. Thisproposal is an ill-conceived, thinly veiled attempt to usurp legislativeprocess and establish a tax upon aircraft owners, placing the vast burden ofairport maintenance costs squarely on the backs of private aircraftowners.

    a. Nowherein the cited statutes is AKDOT given the authority to establish an aircraftregistration. Nowhere in the citedstatutes has the AK Legislature given AKDOT the authority to establish a “tax.” I call this a “tax” because it is clearly anexorbitant rate charged regardless of aircraft use, costing private owners $150yearly--30 times the costs of federal registration which is good for threeyears.

    b. Aircraftowners must already register aircraft federally. This proposal is redundant; there are nojustifiable reasons to establish a state registration.

    c. Thebenefits listed by Mr. Binder during the Fairbanks Public Meeting are not benefitsfor the registered owner, they are benefits for the aviation department. He stated that the FAA required additionalinformation on aircraft for its funding and airport permitting processes thatis not available from the FAA database. All 240 state maintained airports have an Airport Manager. It would bevery simple to have Airport Managers provide aircraft basing information. Thismethod of obtaining information cost ZERO dollars!

    d. Theestimated income is not based in reality. Not all 9256 aircraft are airworthy; not all owners will register; the estimatednumber of commercial aircraft (209) is unbelievably low. I submit that thecosts to implement the program will far exceed the $51,000 estimate and thatnot all 9256 aircraft will be registered. More believable--if half the FAA registered aircraft were stateregistered then the benefit is only $600,000 per year.

    e. AKDOT failed to mention both in Notices and the Public Meetingis that penalties established in 17 AAC 02.15.240 will apply. Failure to comply with registration would bea misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 or 90 days imprisonment, and possibleprohibition from operating an aircraft in AK for one year.

    3. Ido understand that the scope of AKDOT’s aviation maintenance budget shortfallis a staggering problem. Of the 240 state maintained airports (excluding ANCand FAI) 172 are gravel, 46 are paved, and 19 airports are FAA Part 139certificated. (airports certified forPart 121 scheduled airlines operating aircraft carrying 9-31 passengers). The Operations and Maintenance (O&M)budget is nearly $40 million per year. Incomefrom leasing is $5.5 million and aviation fuel taxes provide another 4.5million. That leaves a budget gap of $30 million. There are far more equitable solutions tosolve budget shortfalls. Place theburden on the users/beneficiaries of airport use.

    a. Placethe burden of closing the budget gap on the users-both operators and thosereceiving the services. All revenuegenerating aircraft should be shouldering the majority of any fee/tax. Institute a passenger surcharge at all 19Part 139 certificated airports, include non-Alaska based by Part 121 Carriersthat are not currently in this proposal. Institute a gross weight fee applicable to cargo carriers in excess of5000 pounds gross weight.

    b. TheAK legislature could approve an increase in aviation fuel taxes to close thebudget gap. I would propose a largerincrease on Jet A/Jet B as aircraft typically burning this type fuel are more frequentusers and are larger, heavier aircraft whose operations result in more airfieldmaintenance.

    c. Themajority of heavy, commercial passenger aircraft are exempt from theproposal. They receive revenue but donot contribute to the airports they service. Do not exempt carriers based in another state or those whose aircraft isnot based in AK for greater than 180 days per year.

    d. A“User Fee” could be established for state maintained airports based on aircraftgross weight or seating capacity. Thiswould be simple to implement at the 19 Part 139 Certificated Airports (whichrequire nearly half the $40M yearly O&M budget). Smaller cities/villages that are served bysmaller Part 135 carriers could also have a user fee, placing operating costson users and recipients of those services.

    e. Notall gravel runways need year-round maintenance. An example is Chicken (CKX) with only a few winter residents. Identify which airports do no need year-roundmaintenance and then maintain those airports accordingly.

    f. Somerunways could be scaled back. Not allairports need to have 4000 foot plus runways with lighting and all the bellsand whistles. One example is Manley HotSprings (MLY). Why build a new runwayfor a road accessible community that now cost more to maintain than theprevious smaller runway? A simple upgrade to the existing runway would havebeen financially prudent. Bettles (BTT)5200 foot long by 150 foot wide runway could be scaled back/or shortened andstill be accessible by its current users thereby reducing maintenancecosts. A detailed airports requirementsstudy could certainly reduce O&M costs.

    g. Anothersolution is for the state to divest itself of a number of airports. Many of the paved strips are located atcities/village hubs. Local governmentscould operate these airports similar to Ketchikan (KTN). The state should look at divesting Deadhorse(SCC), Barrow (BRW), Bethel (BET), Cordova (CDV), Valdez (VDZ), Unalaska (DUT),Yakutat (YAK), Wrangell (WRG), Petersburg (PSG), Juneau (JNU), Gustavus (GST),Haines (HNS), Skagway (SGY), Sitka (SIT) King Salmon (AKN), and Dillingham(DLG). Most these are Part 191Certificated Airports that cost the most to maintain. Gold King (AK7) and other small airports arestate maintained but could be sold/given to the local community.

    h. Finally,do nothing. AK is a large, diverse,rural state without the transportations infrastructure of the lower 48. We spend a lot to maintain airports becausewe don’t have the roads to those areas.

    4. Whileresearching this proposal, I have the following questions I would likeanswered.

    a. Thoughnot discussed in notices, the proposal, or public meetings, do the penalties in17 AAC 02.15.240 apply to ownersthat fail to register?

    b. Foraircraft that are based at a private runway, are flown in national airspace,and do not land on state land or state maintained runways, will the ownersstill be required to register with the state? If so, what is the legal basis for this requirement?

    5. Thebottom line that there are other, more equitable solutions to close the budgetgap in airport maintenance. Any taxlevied on aircraft owners must be enacted through the legislative process byelected representatives. I stronglyrequest AKDOT leaders reject this proposal and would certainly volunteer tohelp achieve an equitable solution.

  13. #133

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    One of the cautions that came in the post-meeting summary by the EAA/AAA/LHPA is to avoid using the word "tax" in any correspondence regarding the registration fee proposal. The gist of the summary states that the registration proposal is not a tax so any correspondence that refers to it as a tax will be tossed out.

  14. #134
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    Nice Letter.

    Just for your information, Juneau (PAJN) is a city airport and not part of the state system.

    But if you are going to suggest divesting of airports, why only paved? Plenty of gravel strips that could be given to cities, also why not start with the ones closer to Anchorage where you have roads? Palmer, Wasilla, Willow? If that is the desire, Birchwood would seem to be an example of how the public views that idea.

    I don't disagree with your idea, but many of the airports you mention in southeast are servicing very small communities without road access; the volume of dollars to service even a non-certificated airport would likely bankrupt some of those communities.

    That said, I do agree that there are ways to reduce the amount of surface areas the state maintains.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  15. #135

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    George,

    Good points, there are no easy answers. A combined approach divesting some airports, adding fees at others for those that benefit from the airport (think passengers/cargo carriers), and at some airports you just accept the costs of having a very diverse state.
    I think the only way to stop this and work towards a more equitable solution is to involve our elected representatives.

    v/r
    Bryan

  16. #136
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    It'll get the Legislature's attention this next session if rural services are proposed to be reduced. Health and welfare, public safety, education, and an expectation for a decent lifestyle is a shared obligation. How that's best funded is a decision worth both private and political discussion and commitment beyond any single State department's efforts to fill a financial void in maintaining a means of access.

    Gary
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  17. #137

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    Folks,

    Sen John Coghill and his staff have done some research on the proposed registration. Prior to 2001, DOT&PF was specifically authorized to establish a state aircraft registration under the former AS 02.20.010. This section was repealed by the legislature via HB 127 in 2001, effectively denying DOT&PF the ability to establish a registration.
    I don't understand why the Department thinks it is now okay to unilaterally establish a law that the legislature repealed.

    If you are still planning to write a public comment letter and want to include this, PM me for additional information.

    v/r
    Bryan
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