Bipartisan House effort pushes for elimination of airport passenger facility charge cap

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In an attempt to free up greater funding for airports’ construction projects, U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have introduced a bill that would remove the existing federal cap on the airport passenger facility charge (PFC).

“Removing the PFC cap and allowing airports to collect more of their own revenue from users reduces airports’ dependency on federal grants and taxes,” Massie said. “This bill would let airports – not the federal government – decide what to charge customers who use their facilities so they can increase investments to improve passenger experience.”

The Investing In America: Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act has already gained the support of the Airports Council International – North America, along with organizations such as FreedomWorks, Citizens Against Government Waste, Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

“Ask any member of the traveling public and they will agree that our nation’s airports need a serious upgrade,” Blumenauer said. “From delays due to inadequate gate capacity to long security lines and inefficient facilities, airports need to be able to prioritize their local needs and update their facilities for the 21st century.”

The limitation has long been under fire from airport representatives, who contrast its limitations against airlines’ rising fee structures. The PFC works as a sort of local user fee that airports utilize for expansion and enhancement projects. Airlines have, in turn, argued against any changes to the status quo.

“The ‘Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act’ will remove the outdated and burdensome federal cap on local airport user fees, allowing each airport to determine its own user-fee rate based on its own unique infrastructure needs,” the Airports Council International – North America said in a statement. “This pro-market approach will give all airports the flexibility they need to address the nearly $130 billion worth of infrastructure needs they face over the next five years to increase capacity, enhance security, promote competition among the airlines, and improve the overall passenger experience.”