If you’ve traveled by air anytime in the last decade or more, you’ve paid a 9/11 Security Fee for your ticket. Based on the average number of travelers per day, this amounts to $14.5 million per day in TSA fees. These fees did not stop abruptly when the government shut down, which means approximately $507 million was collected during that time. Why, then, were the 51,000 employees of this government agency not paid?
According to an article by Judicial Watch, a large portion of these funds have been redirected to the general fund since the Budget Act of 2013:
The original statute enacted after the worst terrorist attack on American soil specifically required that the revenue from the passenger security fee be dedicated to providing civil aviation security services. The Budget Act amended it to require that a portion of money, $12.63 billion generated over 10 years, is deposited in the general fund as “offsetting receipts for the Federal budget.”
It’s not that the TSA doesn’t have need for the fee that’s being charged. Even before the shutdown, staffing and general improvements were underfunded. You would think, though, that they could at least pay the employees they have during that period since the money was collected.