Opponents of Higher Airline Taxes Speak Out on Infrastructure Week

Missouri News Service

A statewide news service for Missouri

Jefferson City, MO – This week, Congress and the Trump administration are discussing ways to fund infrastructure improvements, and increasing the Passenger Facility Charge for airline passengers is on the table. Opponents say raising it would be a mistake.

 This is Infrastructure Week, when lawmakers and the Trump administration are looking for ways to fund a two-trillion-dollar upgrade for the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, dams and more. Some have suggested raising the airline Passenger Facility Charge, or P-F-C. Right now, airlines tack the charge onto ticket prices, and the money goes to fund airport upgrades. But this Aviation Trust Fund now has a seven-billion-dollar surplus. So Sharon Pinkerton, with the group Airlines for America, says it’s smarter to keep ticket prices stable – which she says is key to the financial health of major airports, like St. Louis’ Lambert International.

  “St. Louis has certainly been an airport that has seen some ups and downs because of the loss of TWA at the time. But again, that’s why it’s important to continue to keep costs low, to be able to attract new traffic.”

  St. Louis is looking at refinancing its bonds to free up money for airport improvements. And Kansas City International Airport recently broke ground on a one-and-a-half-billion-dollar new terminal, without raising costs to consumers.

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 Pete Sepp with the National Taxpayers Union thinks Congress should look at alternative ways to fund road and bridge repairs, rather than diverting airline taxes for other uses.

 “The total government burden on an airline ticket is now exceeding an average of 20 percent. That’s a higher tax rate than most middle-class travelers will pay on their 1040 tax return.”

  The Show Me State’s roads and bridges could use more funding from Congress. The 2018 Infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Missouri a grade of “C” for the condition of its bridges, 48-hundred of which need repairs. The state’s roads got a “D-plus.”