Rep. Oberstar raises possibility of container security fee
Rep. Jim Oberstar, on tap to become chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, recently expressed interest in instituting a federal tax on containers to help pay for port security measures.
In a Nov. 21 interview with the Associated Press, Oberstar said, 'I think we should have a revenue stream for port security as we have for aviation security ' We're doing very little in the way of screening of containers when we should be pushing the security border out from the United States, as we do in aviation.'
Airline passengers pay a fee for every ticket they purchase to help fund scanning and other security measures at airports.
'What we should have is perhaps a one-time security fee of $50 or so per container. Those containers generally hold $200,000 worth of goods. ' A $50 — even $100 — fee would be minimal,' Oberstar said.
Industry groups successfully fought off attempts by Democratic lawmakers in 2003 to institute user fees for port security measures. Many Democrats complained that a dedicated funding stream is needed because Congress and the Bush administration were not providing resources for programs being touted to help defend the homeland from terrorist attacks.
Some local port authorities charge container security fees to cover their security expenses.