A bipartisan group of US lawmakers have introduced legislation to ensure that revenue collected by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to fund its operations will no longer be diverted for non-security uses.
The Funding for Aviation Screeners and Threat Elimination Restoration Act, or the “FASTER Act,” would repeal a requirement that a portion of the 9/11 Passenger Security Fees be credited as offsetting receipts and deposited in the general fund of the US Treasury.
Groups representing airports have long objected to the practice of diverting the revenue, arguing that the funds were intended to be used to pay TSA transportation security officer (TSO) salaries, benefits and overtime. In the last fiscal year, a total of $1.36 billion, or about one-third of the fee collections, were deposited into the general fund.
The legislation was co-sponsored in the House by Transportation & Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Homeland Security Committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) and Rep. John Katko (R-New York). Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
“The FASTER Act will ensure that TSA gets the full funding that it needs—funding that is already paid by consumers—to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and hire additional staff in order to make air travel not only safer, but more efficient,” DeFazio said. “In an era where government shutdowns are becoming more of the norm rather than the exception, TSA needs the ability to provide some financial stability to its hard-working TSOs, who are amongst the lowest-paid federal employees”…