TSA collected over $500,000 in spare change last year
When asked to empty their pockets at airport security, travelers are quick to oblige placing wallets, cell phones, and spare change in the baskets. In a rush to collect belongings and quickly head to gates for departure, stray coins can be an afterthought for some passengers.
Last year, those afterthoughts totaled $531,395–a substantial increase from the two years prior. In 2011 the TSA collected $488,000, which is up from $409,000 in 2010.
But just where does that hunk of change go? According to the TSA Loose Change Act, “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has authority to retain and spend, without annual appropriation, unclaimed money left at security checkpoints by air passengers for activities related to aviation security.” While the TSA collected over $500,000 in 2012, the agency had only spent $6,539 by the end of the fiscal year.
A new House Resolution, however, aims to re-appropriate the funds and “amend current law to require TSA to transfer unclaimed funds to nonprofit organizations that provide certain travel-related assistance to military personnel and their families.” The House passed the bill on Dec. 3, but according to the literature, only affects money collected after the resolution passes, meaning that last years’ sum is excluded.
Another provision outlined by the new bill establishes that only “nonprofit organizations that provide places of rest and recuperation at airports for members of the Armed Forces and their families, and establishes a request for proposals (RFP) process to select such organizations” are eligible to receive the collected amounts. Currently the only non-profit organization that meets these criteria is the USO.
Check out the top ten airports with the most spare change left behind:
1. Miami International: $39,613
2. McCarran International (Las Vegas): $26,900
3. O’Hare International (Chicago): $22,116
4. Los Angeles International: $21,916
5. John F. Kennedy International: $21,201
6. Dallas/Ft. Worth International: $20,190
7. San Francisco International: $19,874
8. Washington Dulles International: $16,537
9. Logan International (Boston): $16,406
10. George Bush Intercontinental (Houston): $16,082