Senate THUD bill hits all air travelers with new taxes disguised as fees

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Once again airline passengers get the wrong end of the stick with the passage of the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Not one single consumer group supported this tax increase. This was a disappointing victory of business interests and big airports over airline passengers.

Everyday travelers and business travelers will pay more for every flight in the US. Plus, families will pay hundreds of dollars more to visit family and go on vacations. And, airports and their surrounding communities will get tax money taken from airline passengers with scant representation.

“The increase in the Passenger Facility Charge from $4.50 to $8.50 is unwarranted and a slap in the face to America’s flying public,” according to Charles Leocha, President Travelers United. “Once again those benefiting most from the airport commerce are given a free ride and passengers have to pay through the nose.”

increased Passenger Facility Charges from $4.50 to $8.50 are simply unfair. Passengers are paying an unfair burden of taxes on airline travel.

Localities should pay their fair share
While consumers understand that airports can use additional funding, we do not accept that passengers should bear the burdens of almosts all airport funding. Localities have a responsibility to pay for infrastructure that supports their community, real estate investments and businesses.

Consumers are paying their fair share.
When parking, taxi surcharges, rental car fees, and concession income are added to taxes and other fees, the users — passengers — find themselves paying for virtually the entire operation of airports.

Consumers are even paying off municipal bonds
Worse, although airports are financed with municipal bonds, the bonds are paid for in a large part by using passenger facility charge incomes. The April 2015 GAO study titled Information on Funding Sources and Planned Capital Development states that airports plan to spend 74 percent of their PFC revenues on debt service.

In other words, even supposed local bonds are paid for using passenger funds. That is simply not fair to the flying public. The localities that are enjoying the economic spillover from successful airports should be forking over their fair share.

Localities have a responsibility to pay for infrastructure that supports their community, real estate investments and businesses. These costs should not be borne solely by airline passengers.