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Hirono, Schatz fight increased security fees

MEDIA RELEASE

Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have introduced an amendment that would exempt Hawaii and Alaska from the increase in air travel fees included in the budget deal.

This exemption would protect interisland flights from increased air travel fees, which would more than double from $2.50 to $5.60 in the budget compromise bill the Senate will vote on this week.

“The budget deal makes tough choices, working to balance critical investments that grow our economy, ease the pain of the sequester, and preserve our promises to our seniors,” Hirono said. “However, raising air travel fees ignores the disparate economic impact that increased fees and taxes on air transportation would have on non-contiguous states. In Hawaii, residents rely on air travel to receive healthcare, connect with family and friends, and conduct business. That’s why I’ve introduced this amendment with my colleagues from Hawaii and Alaska to help maintain affordable air transportation for our constituents.”

“Flying isn’t just a luxury for Alaskans – it’s a necessity for things like work and medical care. With over 30,000 people living off the road system, doubling air travel security fees for some flights in my state would create an unnecessary strain for traveling Alaskans,” Begich said. “This fix is important so the people in my state affected by these security fee increases are not unfairly burdened.”

“We in Hawaii are in a different situation than those on the mainland and we often are dependent on air travel for business, health care, or to visit family. Recognizing the unique position of both Hawaii and Alaska, and exempting us from increased air fees is not only fair, it is commonsense,” Schatz said.

Hirono sent a letter to Sen. Patty Murray before the budget deal was unveiled, noting the history of Congressional exemptions for Hawaii air travel passengers. Hirono also called Murray to discuss the importance of this issue for Hawaii.

For the full text of Hirono’s letter, visit: www.hirono.senate.gov/download…

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