When my four children left home for work and other opportunities, I found this out firsthand. I now travel far more often from the Eastern Iowa Airport to visit my children and their families. This may soon change as congress is considering a little known fee that could increase travel costs. The fee is a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC)—a tax on passengers authorized by congress, designed to raise money for airport infrastructure projects.
The tax is currently capped at $4.50 for each bad of an air traveler’s journey. The current chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee supports the increase to $8.50. Some in Congress have even proposed eliminating the tax on the PFC, allowing each airport to set their own PFC. This could cause air travel costs to skyrocket.
Americans already named cost as the largest barrier to travel. An increase in the PFC also impedes business travel. If airports were struggling, a national PFC increase would be understandable.
However, this is not the case as airports across America are thriving. More than $30 million is being spent to upgrade the Eastern Iowa Airport terminal, a major project for both the airport and Cedar Rapids.
The airport is expanding its cargo operation with the help of an $8.8 million federal grant. Increasing passenger fare charge is unwarranted. Iowans cannot afford higher travel costs. A PFC increase is unnecessary.