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Travelers hit with higher fees under budget deal

 

The bipartisan budget deal struck in Congress last week contains no broad-based tax increases, but it aims to generate billions in new revenue by essentially nickel-and-diming American taxpayers. 

People who travel on commercial airliners are some of the hardest hit. 

As part of the overall budget deal, Congress increased the passenger security fee, a surcharge added to all airline tickets, by 120 percent. Starting July 1, passengers traveling through American airports will pay $5.60 per one-way trip, up from the current fee of $2.50 per trip. 

Last year, the fee generated about $1.8 billion to offset about 20 percent of the Transportation Security Administration's $8 billion budget. With the increase, the fee on travelers will offset about 43 percent of the budget next year, according to U.S. House Budget Committee projections. 

But the new fee -- unlike the original -- is not tied directly to the costs of the TSA or other airline security line items in the budget. 

Instead, the revenue is headed for the U.S. Treasury to offset restored funding cuts from the sequester. 

"I'm really disappointed that we ended up with a security fee that looks more like a tax," Charlie Leocha, co-founder and president of the Consumer Travel Alliance, told Watchdog.org on Friday. "We ended up with something that should be a fee and they're treating it like a tax." 

Click for more from Watchdog.org.