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The next time you go through airport security, check those gray and white bins where you unload your pockets. Last year, the Transportation Security Administration collected $531,395.22 in change left behind at checkpoints.
Current law requires the TSA spend that money on providing civil aviation security — essentially, to supplement its overall mission. But so far, the TSA has only spent about $6,500 of the money it collected last year. The TSA report to Congress says the agency spent that money on the translation of some airport checkpoint signage into foreign languages and on miscellaneous administrative overhead.
The slow rate of spending has some in Congress pushing for a, um, change.
On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 1095, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), which would require the TSA to fork that cash over to nonprofit organizations that provide travel-related assistance to military personnel or their families.
A similar measure Miller introduced in the last Congress, H.R. 2179, would have awarded the money to United Service Organizations, Inc., the nonprofit that runs in-airport lounges for military personnel. The Congressional Budget Office estimated [pdf] that collecting, accounting for and transferring the money to the USO would cost $1.2 million — $700,000 more than the actual amount collected.
The next time you go through airport security, check those gray and white bins where you unload your pockets.