County Plans To Raise Tax On Airplane Tickets
By Victor Cruz
Hoping to raise $253 million for nine capital improvement projects at Miami International, the county will seek federal approval to charge passengers an extra $1.50 per ticket.
The measure, "almost certain to be approved" by the Federal Aviation Authority, said airport director Angela Gittens, would be effective Oct. 1.
"About 55 of the nation’s 250 major airports charge what MIA does," said Ms. Gittens.
The increased money will be used toward a $278 million project that is already under way and is to be finished at the end of 2003. The work includes improvements to three gates at $118.6 million, extension of an upper roadway at $87.2 million and an aircraft apron at $12.9 million.
The new rate will result in a net gain of $14 million in 2002, after entitlement grant funds are reduced to compensate for the increased rate, according to county documents.
Airline officials were notified of the potential change in April and a meeting with them was held in May.
The airlines, which receive a 12% fee for processing the tax, expressed approval for the measure, said Ms. Gittens. The current tax at Miami International is $3.
Authority for granting the federal tax, which appears among other fees on tickets, has been around since the passage of the Capacity Expansion Act of 1990, which created the tax to provide additional resources for airport capital development, county documents said.
A federal reform measure officially implemented May 30, 2000, opened the door to allow an increased maximum "passenger facility charge," according to the documents.
Commissioners voted Tuesday to have the county manager’s office pursue the increase this summer. The county attorney’s office is to review the application before the manager’s office makes it to the aviation authority.