Taxes on air travel will double next year if lawmakers pass a proposal intended to offset aviation security costs and automatic spending cuts set to begin in January, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The current charge — known as the September 11 fee — would go from its current $2.50 each way to $5. Lawmakers enacted the fee
in 2002 to offset the cost associated with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Increasing the fee is drawing bipartisan support and is one of several ideas under consideration to increase federal revenue. But the proposal has drawn the ire of airline industry and consumer groups, who argue that upping the September 11 fee makes it appear as though airlines are raising ticket prices when lawmakers simply raising the tax to help cover more federal spending.
The groups also question the value of the fee, raising skepticism about whether the TSA has been effective in making air travel safer. The Airlines and consumers covered 30 percent of the $7.5 billion the TSA spent on aviation security last year, according to the agency.
If the Obama administration gets its way, the one-way fee would gradually rise to $7.50 each way by 2019, raising an additional estimated $25.9 billion over 10 years, according to the Journal. About $8 billion would offset aviation-security costs while the remaining $18 billion would reduce the national debt.
Since its inception, the fee has never increased despite the hiring of more than 50,000 TSA employees and the addition of high-tech, explosive scanners at airports, according to Fox News.
The September 11 fee is just one of several taxes
that air travelers have to bear. According to Fox News, the Global Business Travel Association estimates that, on average, 20 percent of the cost of a $300 ticket is for taxes, including a $5.50 Customs user fee, a passenger ticket tax of 7.5 percent, a $4 flight segment tax, and a cargo waybill tax of 6.25 percent, among others.
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