May 19, 2017 10:15 a.m.
Congressman Peter DeFazio has introduced legislation that he believes will ease congestion and long lines at TSA screening checkpoints at airports.
DeFazio is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He says that in 2013 Congress began diverting one-third of the revenue collected from airline passenger security fees to offset unrelated government spending. His legislation, called The FASTER Act would ensure that passenger security fees only go towards airport security and prevent Congress from raiding the funds in the future, according to a press release from the Congressman’s office.
DeFazio says there is ample funding to ease TSA congestion but it is being diverted to cover government debt. DeFazio claims that President Trump’s recent proposal shows the administration wants to raise airport security fees, but continue diverting the money to the General Fund.
In Fiscal Year 2016, passengers paid more than $3.6 billion in aviation security fees. However of that money, $1.25 billion went to fund other federal priorities. DeFazio says that over $15 billion has been diverted from airport security since 2013. While this money has been diverted, the number of airline travelers has increased substantially. Due to TSA staffing shortages and increased security measures, airport security lines across the country have become longer, with passengers sometimes waiting in line for hours or missing flights, according to DeFazio.
The congressman says the FASTER Act would direct billions of dollars back to the TSA so the agency can begin to address personnel shortages, decrease passenger wait times and ensure a “more efficient and safer screening process”.