On May 18, 2017, Representative Peter DeFazio introduced the “Funding for Aviation Screeners and Threat Elimination Restoration (FASTER) Act”. The act would repeal subsection (i) of 49 U.S.C. 44940, which takes portions of passenger fees collected and deposits them into the general fund of the treasury. Lawmakers who back the FASTER Act argue that repealing this subsection would ensure greater funding for aviation security.
In FY2016, a total of $3.6 billion in aviation security fees were collected, but $1.25 billion were deposited into the general fund of the Treasury. In total, since 2013, $15 billion in passenger fees have been deposited into the general fund of the Treasury to fund other federal priorities. According to lawmakers, this “diversion” of passenger fees has undercut funding for the Transportation Security Administration which results in personnel shortages and long wait lines.
The introduction of the FASTER Act is viewed positively by airport executives nationwide. Airlines for America President and CEO, Nicholas E. Calio, has called the practice of diverting passenger fees to fund non-aviation security initiatives as “disingenuous” and “wrong”. “The traveling public expects that when they spend money on a fee to cover their airport security screening, that’s where their money is going,” he said. Additionally, Airports Council International-North America President and CEO Kevin M. Burke states “Airports welcome the introduction of the FASTER Act” which he hopes will help ensure “TSA has the resources it needs to operate more effectively and efficiently.”
For more information on the FASTER Act, please read the press release from the Office of Congressman Peter DeFazio.