Travel Community Blasts House Proposal On TSA Funds
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A House of Representatives plan to divert revenue from airline passenger fees paid to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to pay for the highway trust fund is drawing criticism from the travel community.
As part of the Offsets in the Highway and Transportation Funding Act, the House plan calls for using portions of revenue assumed to be collected from TSA fees in the years 2024 and 2025 to offset government costs for a highway fix this year.
“It is disingenuous at best to take funds that airline passengers are paying, presumably for their safety and security, and use them to pay for highways,” said Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of the trade group Airlines For America. “This plan proposes to use tomorrow’s dollars to pay for today’s problem and do so on the backs of airline passengers who are being asked to fund everything from the national debt to the highways.”
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said user fees must benefit the users who pay them.
“To say it’s OK to use TSA fees for surface projects because it’s all transportation is just too much of a stretch,” Dow said. “Even though a long-term fix would be highly preferable, no one disagrees that highways funding needs to be extended in the short term as well. But robbing tomorrow’s flyer to pay for today’s driver does not a viable funding model make."
Calio noted that airline customers are already paying heavy fees. For instance, an average $300 domestic one-stop roundtrip ticket can include more than $61 in taxes.
“This plan is a road to nowhere for passengers,” Calio said, “and eventually will lead to fee increases if the fees airlines and their customers already are paying today are diverted to other uses.”
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