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1/29/2014
Exempt the fee

Island states should be exempt from an increase in federal security fees tacked on to flights.

Alaska's congressional delegation has joined Hawaii's in introducing a bill that would exempt its residents. The exemption would apply to inter-island flights.

An exemption is appropriate because Alaskans, like Hawaiians, often have multiple legs on different airlines to get to their destinations.

In many communities in these states, air travel is the only choice to get from one place to another. While in the Lower 48, travelers can take trains, boats, buses, and their own motor vehicles in addition to jets. They have a choice of whether to pay an increased fee.

The increased fee would affect all air travelers, but would be an additional financial challenge for school teams traveling for sports and academic events. Alaska students often travel by air because it is the only way to get to some game sites and because alternate transportation, such as boats, take too much time when it's imperative to get back to classes. The travel situation is dissimilar to the continential states where teams often travel by bus shortly before the game and return home right after the game.

The fee increase would more than double from $2.50 to $5.60. Add this on to all of the other increases experienced by Alaskans, and undoubtedly Hawaiians, and it's not only a 55-percent increase but a huge hike.

The proposed exemption is reasonable for Alaska and Hawaii.