The Passenger Facility Charge is NOT a Tax

This afternoon you received an email calling on Senators to “Ground the Ticket Tax”. Grounding the ticket tax will ground all passenger and cargo aviation in the United States. The federal ticket tax is a 7.5 percent excise tax imposed by the federal government on every passenger ticket purchased. The money raised by this ticket tax goes directly into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF). AATF funds the FAA, air traffic control and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

Senator DeMint needs to dust off his copy of the Federal Statute. The Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) created in the Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990 (PL 101-508) is a user fee not a tax and has nothing to do with the 7.5 percent ticket tax:

“PFC means a passenger facility charge covered by this part imposed by a public agency on passengers enplaned at a commercial service airport it controls.”

The Congressional Research Service doesn’t think it’s a tax (IB10026):
“Although the FAA oversees the PFC program, the agency does
not impose the fee. The PFC is a state, local, or port authority fee, not a federally imposed tax.”

In fact, in the original preamble to the PFC regulations the FAA states:

“The PFC will be a local charge generating local revenue to be used locally”

There are currently $47.3 billion in safety and capacity projects in progress or planned to prevent passenger delays and congestion. AIP funding covers only a fraction of the infrastructure projects required and is insufficient to modernize and expand facilities needed to implement the necessary system changes to ensure the traveling public can fully realize the benefits of NextGen.

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