“We have worked with this administration on several general aviation initiatives,” Bunce notes.
While Obama's first four years could portend the next four, industry leaders have few specifics about Romney's approach. The Republican candidate's focus is on macro issues, providing few clues as to how he would handle major concerns of the industry.
In the AOPA survey, Romney echoes sentiments about general aviation: “I understand the immense benefits that this form of transportation provides to Americans.”
A Romney administration likely would slow environmental regulation, such as the push toward unleaded aviation gasoline, Byer suggests, and adds that the Republican platform also may have a “pro-business” bent.
But industry leaders believe the outcome of the election likely will not sway major industry issues such as the $100-per-flight user fee proposal. “Our issues transcend politics,” notes National Business Aviation Association President and CEO Ed Bolen.
Industry leaders know that the president-elect—whoever he may be—must tackle unprecedented budget choices with the prospect of the budget penalty known as sequestration, Bolen says.
Sequestration, which mandates an automatic $1 trillion cut over the next decade, is a potential lose-lose situation, he notes. It was set up to be so painful that Congress will make difficult budget choices to avoid it. That is where the $100-user-fee proposal becomes worrisome, he says. Obama remains committed to the fee, telling AOPA that the tax is designed “to reduce the deficit and more equitably share the cost of air traffic services.”
But industry leaders do not believe that a Romney win would take the fee proposal off the table. Every administration in the past three decades has proposed some sort of user fee, Byer says. “User fees have been an apolitical topic.”
When asked by AOPA about user fees, Romney offered neither direct support nor opposition.
“There are tough decisions that need to be made, and given what is at stake for GA and our economy, whoever takes the White House, both parties will have to work together,” says Bunce.