A proposed Senate appropriations bill would increase the cap
on the airport passenger facility charge (PFC) from $4.50 per flight segment to
$8.50, according to advocacy groups.
The $60 billion FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban
Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act passed out of
subcommittee Tuesday and is scheduled for consideration by the full Senate
Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
The bill itself has not yet been posted to congressional
websites. But in a statement, the trade group Airlines for America (A4A) said
that "airport sources" say it would raise the PFC cap to $8.50.
A press release put out by the appropriations subcommittee
said only that the bill "provides greater flexibilities for airports to
make much-needed capacity improvements."
Airports Council International -- North America (ACI-NA) and
the U.S. Travel Association also issued statements Tuesday lauding the proposal
to increase the PFC cap. ACI-NA says the increase is essential if airports are
going to keep up with needed rehabilitation projects and with growth in
passenger and cargo traffic. U.S. airports need $100 billion in infrastructure
work in the next five years, the organization says.
A4A, however, strongly opposes an increase in the PFC cap,
saying it would be akin to a tax increase on U.S. travelers of $3.2 billion.
Airports are flush with cash, A4A says.
According to the Senate appropriations subcommittee, THUD
would increase 2018 fiscal year funding for the FAA by $563 million, up from
the enacted 2017 level of $16.33 billion and provide $1.1 billion for
implementation of the NextGen GPS-based air traffic control (ATC) system. It
rejects the privatization of ATC, which is under consideration in the House and
has the support of President Donald Trump.
Congress last raised the PFC cap, which is assessed at the
discretion of individual airports, in 2000.