May 23, 2019

Defeat of port-of-entry bill a boon to Bangor

WASHINGTON — A Sanford, Fla., airport will not have an unfair business advantage against Bangor International Airport and other international “port-of-entry” locations, thanks to action by the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday.

The House derailed a proposal in the Treasury and Postal Service Appropriation Bill to force BIA to charge passengers entering the United States an additional $6.50 per person but exempt the Florida port from levying the fee. The additional charge at BIA could have made the Florida airport more attractive to airlines, officials said.

U.S. Reps. John Baldacci and Jim Longley lobbied other House members to withdraw the Kingston amendment, which would have continued “user-fee” status for the Florida airport while forcing port-of-entry locations such as BIA to charge a $6.50 entry fee per person on international flights.

The Maine congressional delegation worked earlier this year with U.S. Customs Service officials to change the Sanford airport’s status from “user-fee” to port-of-entry. That process continues to be pursued, according to members of the delegation.

“We’re pleased the Kingston amendment was withdrawn,” Baldacci and Longley said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “This is good news for Bangor International Airport, since passage of the amendment would have given Sanford Airport an unfair advantage over BIA in terms of attracting international flights. Today’s victory has important implications for BIA and the economy of the entire region, which benefits from a strong and prosperous airport,” the congressmen said.

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