Fee-Diversion Plan
Business

Travel Groups Oppose Fee-Diversion Plan in Highway Bill

Despite making a strong argument against using fees from airline tickets to pay for highway funding, airline and travel groups were unable to make the case to remove the measure from the bill—even as they welcomed the first highway bill to pass both chambers in a decade.

Despite making a strong argument against using fees from airline tickets to pay for highway funding, airline and travel groups were unable to make the case to remove the measure from the bill—even as they welcomed the first highway bill to pass both chambers in a decade.

It isn’t just the tire industry that’s got some concerns with the highway bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

One industry that’s speaking up, in fact, is more focused on the skies than the highway. Airlines for America (A4A) has come out as one of the largest critics of the highway funding bill over a measure that takes a fee paid by airline passengers for airport security and instead uses it to help fund the highway trust fund.

Last month, A4A led a coalition of travel industry groups in a push against the move, which shifts money away from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Despite their best efforts, the measure got through the House bill.

“Taking money that airline customers and others pay for customs and security and diverting it to pay for roads is highly inappropriate and a bait and switch on the already overtaxed traveling public,” Nicholas E. Calio, A4A’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We applaud Congressional leaders for passing a much needed long-term highway reauthorization bill, however asking airline customers to foot the bill for highways, bike paths, or anything else unrelated to air travel is a bad idea that will make flying more expensive for the 2 million customers who travel on U.S. airlines every day.”

Despite the lingering issue with TSA funding, the U.S. Travel Association, another group that had joined with A4A in opposing the shift in funding, still welcomed most of the results from the highway bill—a bill it noted is the first highway-funding legislation to pass the House in a decade.

“This bill acknowledges the need to prioritize travel as an industry, because we are among the top sectors in creating activity and jobs on every rung of the economic ladder and in every corner of the country,” U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow said in a statement last week. “We’ve been stating the case for years that a little investment in travel returns massive and broad-based dividends—really, the empirical data on this simply cannot be denied—and the House bill is evidence that political leaders listen and act upon good sense.”

The highway bill is currently in conference after versions passed both the House and Senate.

(iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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