A bill that would increase the cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC) won unanimous passage from the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The PFC is a fee that airports assess passengers for capital improvements.

The FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (THUD) calls for $16.97 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $563 million above the FY2017 enacted level.

Travel industry lobbyists are especially pleased that it would lift the PFC's present cap of $4.50 per flight leg to $8.50 for the first segment of any one-way trip and $4.50 for subsequent segments. Airports assess the fee at their own discretion and must use the funding for infrastructure improvements.

THUD would also increase funding for federal Airport Improvement Program grants from $3.35 billion this year to $3.6 billion next year.

U.S. Travel Association president Roger Dow praised the bill.

"Improving airport infrastructure was a core campaign promise for the president, and seeing this measure across the finish line would represent a major legislative achievement," he said.

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