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Opposition to proposed Airport Traveler Tax

Opposition to proposed Airport Traveler Tax

Some airport executives and some members of Congress have called for an increase to the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) – a tax that travelers pay when using U.S. airports. By law, the tax is currently capped at $4.50 per flight segment and $18 per roundtrip flight per passenger, but the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure is considering legislation that would increase the tax, possibly removing the cap entirely.

A new survey of 1,608 registered voters nationwide conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS) indicates that 80% oppose increasing the PFC tax. Opposition to proposed PFC increases is bipartisan, with 83% of Democrats and 81% of Republican voters expressing their opposition in the poll.

Increase to Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) – Support/Oppose

Total

Democrats

Republicans

Independents

Total Support


20%

17%

19%

22%

Total Oppose

80%

83%

81%

78%

Strongly Support

4%

4%

3%

4%

Somewhat Support

16%

13%

16%

18%

Somewhat Oppose

39%

39%

38%

39%

Strongly Oppose

41%

43%

43%

39%

The poll data suggest that a major reason for strong opposition to PFC increases that benefit airports is that the public sees this issue as an unnecessary tax increase on average Americans and a mix-up of transportation infrastructure priorities.

According to the survey, most Americans (65%) are satisfied with the quality of the country’s airports, and 85% believe that airports already receive enough in taxpayer subsidies to fund improvement projects. Aside from paying the existing PFC taxes, most Americans surveyed said that in the past year they had spent money in airports on food/beverages (66%), on WiFi access (62%), and on sit-down meals or drinks (53%) – all additional sources of revenue for airports.

Comparatively, fewer than half (42%) say they are satisfied with the quality of America’s roads and bridges, railways (49%) or public transportation systems (45%). And according to the poll, a majority (56%) of Americans believe that the quality and condition of the country’s roads and bridges has gotten worse over the past 5 years. When queried specifically about transportation infrastructure priorities, 82% of the country would prefer to see Congress spend time and resources funding road, rail and port improvements instead of airports.

“Opposition to increasing the PFC tax is overwhelming and bipartisan,” said Scott Kotchko, President of Whitman Insight Strategies, the firm that conducted the poll. “The average American thinks our airports themselves are great, that they’re already well-funded, and believes that Congress should focus on improving our crumbling roads and bridges instead of taxing families to give more money to airports. It’s the transportation version of the rich getting richer,” Mr. Kotchko continued.

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