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President Barack Obama proposed new
travel taxes and fees as part of his plan for economic growth and deficit
reduction, which also dedicates several billion dollars to travel industry
Obama's plan would reform the
aviation passenger security fee to "more accurately reflect the costs of
aviation security," according to the proposal. The plan calls for the maximum
passenger "per-enplanement" fee to increase to a minimum of $5 per
one-way trip from $2.50. Passengers would pay the fee only "one
time when traveling to their destination," according to the
administration. The proposal eliminates the statutory fee limit, replacing it
with the $5 minimum fee, which from 2013 annually will increase by 50 cents
until 2017. The fee then would stand at $7.50, where it thereafter would remain.
The move would cover roughly 43
percent of the Transportation Security Administration's security-related costs
and generate an estimated $8.8 billion
over five years and $24.9 billion over 10 years to be deposited in a general
fund used to offset national debt and such TSA discretionary appropriations as
proposed air traffic taxes as well. For both general and private aviation, the
plan would establish a mandatory $100 per-flight fee payable to the Federal
Aviation Administration to cover its operational costs. This would generate
roughly $11 billion over 10 years. Only military aircraft, public aircraft,
recreational piston aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of
controlled airspace would be exempted.
The Air Transport Association of America in a statement
strongly opposed Obama's plan, claiming the new fees "would hurt
economic recovery and further burden airlines and customers and cost jobs.”
"We oppose any new taxes on airlines or
their passengers," ATA president and CEO Nicholas Calio said in the
statement. "We already pay more than our fair share of taxes—more than the
alcohol and tobacco industries, whose products are taxed at levels to
discourage their use. Today, taxes and fees on a typical $300 round-trip ticket
already account for more than $60 of the total cost."
As for helping fund TSA, Calio said: "TSA
costs are not all related to aviation. Yet, no other industry or mode of
transportation pays for its security as airlines do, even though it is clear
that the terrorists targeting commercial aircraft are not attacking the
airlines themselves but rather the U.S. economy and the American way of life."
Obama's plan dedicates billions in
grant funding to improve rail systems, airports and other transportation systems.
The plan includes $9 billion to repair transit systems, of which $2 billion
would improve intercity passenger rail service.
Another $2 billion is
designated for adding airport capacity and modernizing airport infrastructure.
Furthermore, $10 billion is set aside for "innovative mechanisms"
within the transportation industry, including $4 billion to develop high-speed rail corridors and $1 billion for NextGen air traffic modernization.
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