A secret $3.2 billion airport tax increase on travelers
The Senate Appropriations Committee members voted against the desires and benefit of their constituents by approving an increase in airport taxes that will add $8 to the average price of 75 percent of every round-trip airline ticket in America. This a total $3.2 billion airport tax hike on every American who takes a flight in the US if it is approved by the full Senate and Congress.
At the same time, the Senate encouraged municipalities to not tax luxury hotels, parking lots, and office building owners near airports. Without an airport, much of this land would be used for grazing cattle or abandoned. With an airport, the land is super valuable and generates millions in income. However, property owners near airports are not paying their fair share.
Why? Because it is easier to get Congressmen to approve an across the country airport tax rather than tax their own voters. These machinations happen in the dark of committee hearings where consumers barely have a voice, where they depend on their Representatives and Senators to look out for their interests. And when Congressmen do not have the floodlights of publicity on their actions, they will act in the interests of business and the rich against the desires of their constituents.
The action of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development raises the user tax known as the Passenger Facility Charge from $4.50 to $8.50. That is the airport tax that every traveler pays when they take off from an airport. Since 80 percent of flights in the US are connecting flights, this means that on a round-trip connecting flight with a connection the “charge” will increase $16. For a family of four, this means an increase of $64 for a vacation trip, a trip to a wedding or other family event, or a trip to visit grandma and granddad.
The subcommittee members cavalierly call this a user fee but it a simple airport tax that nearly 900 million US airline travelers will have to pay should this airport tax increase be passed by the full Congress.
These are the kind of issues that Travelers United works on every day to save travelers money. Without an advocacy group like Travelers United, the travel consumer voice would be mute. This the time to contact your Representative or Senator and send him/her an email, or better yet, call.
Charlie Leocha is the President of Travelers United. He has been working in Washington, DC, for the past ten years with Congress, the Department of Transportation and industry stakeholders on travel issues. He was the consumer representative to the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protections appointed by the Secretary of Transportation from 2012 through 2018. He also served on the Consumer Advocacy Subcommittee of the Transportation Security Advisory Board.