It looks like pennies do add up. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Thursday that it had collected more than $400,000 in spare change left by airline passengers at airport security checkpoints operated by the agency in 2011.
The TSA collected $409,085.56 in unclaimed, spare change, according to figures released by the agency. According to The Hill, if no one comes back to claim the money, it stays with the TSA. However, a Florida lawmaker is trying to amend this.
In April 2009, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) filed a bill that would require the TSA to transfer any unclaimed money that is found at airport security checkpoints over to the United Service Organizations. In a statement to The Hill on Thursday, Miller said that the money could be put to much better use than toward the TSA's operating budget.
The TSA keeps travelers' change accidentally left at checkpoints as an appropriations back-fill for agency activities, Miller said. There is no incentive for TSA to try to return the forgotten change to its rightful owner.
The amount of money left behind really surprised me -- $400,000 annually is nothing to sneeze at, he continued. Travelers' lost change should be put to good use, and there is no better organization to use this money wisely than the United Service Organizations.
Where do passengers have the slipperiest butter-fingers? New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and Los Angeles' International Airport were the two venues where the TSA found the most spare change, collecting $46,918.06 and $19,110.83 respectively.
The next three? Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and San Francisco and Miami International airports, which saw $16,523.83, $15,908.02 and $15,844.83 left behind, respectively. These three rounded out the top five.
Washington's Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport collected $2,502.83 and $13,945.18, respectively, as well.