Are higher TSA fees in sight?

Long TSA queues at Denver International Airport (DEN)

Long TSA queues at Denver International Airport (DEN)

Obama Administration Proposes TSA fee increases

The Obama administration has proposed to raise the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security fee from $2.50 per segment to $7.50 per segment over a period of five years.

The administration is looking to use increased fees to enlarge the TSA and to pay down the deficit.  The TSA is not only a source of constant controversy, but the TSA is an agency many lawmakers consider bloated and out of control with nearly 60,000 employees – 40,000 of which are TSA screeners.

Currently the TSA security fee is $2.50 per segment with a maximum of $5.00 one-way.  Travelers in smaller communities who are required to make a connection are penalized and pay the most, typically $5 each way, or $10 total on a standard round-trip ticket.

Just last week, at an Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, attempted to justify the increase claiming checkpoint screening costs have increased as a result of more carry-on bags because of luggage fees.  What Napolitano doesn’t note is all baggage is screened, whether checked or carry-on.

Secretary Napolitano also testified the TSA costs have skyrocketed while security fees have not been increased since the agency inception in 2002.

House representatives from both parties have indicated the administration’s request to raise these fees will not happen.

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