The U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the congressional budget deal that includes a hike in the Aviation Passenger Security Fee:
"User fees certainly have their place—the transportation sphere is full of them. But a proper user fee must ultimately benefit the user, and it remains to be seen whether the air passenger experience will improve under the fee measures in the congressional budget blueprint. It is concerning that the move appears primarily aimed at getting a big chunk of Transportation Security Administration funding off the strapped federal ledger, when there is agreement across the ideological spectrum that national security is fundamentally the responsibility of the federal government.
"Our hope is that the new funding structure will be used to perceptibly enhance TSA's functions. Examples could include broadening the enrollment effort for the successful PreCheck program, additional testing and acceleration of TSA's other risk-based screening programs, and boosting funding for redress programs. We are encouraged that the budget agreement will continue TSA staffing of exit lines from secure airport areas, the proposed elimination of which was a very flawed idea.
"We are also heartened that leaders of both parties took a major step toward restoring stability to the overall budget process. With the recent shutdown having cost the country $152 million per day, or $2.4 billion overall, in travel-related spending alone, it is critical that we not put the recovering economy through that kind of a shock again."
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
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