Airport execs want higher passenger fees than Obama

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The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is calling for Congress to increase the airport user fees that are paid by airline passengers to higher levels than President Obama is calling for in his fiscal year 2015 budget.

Obama is calling for lawmakers to increase the passenger facility charge that is added to the price of airline tickets from $4 to $8 in his budget proposal that was officially released on Tuesday.
 
AAAE President Todd Hauptli said the fee should be increased to $8.50, instead of the level Obama is proposing.

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"With federal investment in our nation's airport system declining and facing further constraints, airports desperately need additional tools locally to meet current requirements and to prepare for future demand," Hauptli said in a statement. 

"Unfortunately, local airport authorities remain hamstrung by a federal cap on local airport user fees that was last adjusted more than 14 years ago and that remains woefully inadequate to meet the very real and growing needs that exist at airports across the country,” Hauptli continued.  “It's time for the federal government to empower airport investment rather than stymie it by giving airports the self-help they need in the form of an increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC)."

The airport executive association said the increase to $8.50 “would make up for the loss of purchasing power airports have experienced since the last adjustment in the [Passenger Facility Charge] by Congress in 2000.

The association added it was opposed to Obama’s proposed reduction in the Federal Aviation Administration’s airport improvement program from $3.35 billion to $2.9 billion.

"For the sake of today's travelers and for future generations, we need a vibrant system of airports to fuel economic development, create jobs, and keep the United States competitive globally," Hauptli said. "We have a blueprint for moving forward, and we remain hopeful that Congress will act soon to give airports the tools they need to invest in critical infrastructure improvements."

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is scheduled to discuss the details of Obama’s transportation budget proposal with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.