Dept. of Transportation officials were poised at press time to release details of their proposal to change how to pay for the federal aviation system. It would eliminate the ticket tax and rely on fuel taxes and fees. The changes are part of a proposed Bush administration bill to reauthorize federal aviation programs.

DOT Secretary Mary Peters wants users’ fees to be more in line with resulting costs on the aviation system. The Air Transport Association, which represents big airlines, sees the idea as “a positive step toward much-needed system modernization,” says President and CEO James C. May. But General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce calls DOT’s plan “ill-advised.” Says Bunce:“It is shifting costs from the airlines onto general aviation.”