The U.S. 2012 fiscal year budget is unveiled in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama's fiscal 2012 budget proposal maintains Pell Grant maximum. In order to keep the maximum Pell Grant at $5,550, the President's fiscal 2012 budget calls for $100 billion in cuts in other areas of Pell over the next 10 years, according to officials cited in news reports. REUTERS

President Barack Obama's 2012 fiscal year budget plan, proposed on Monday, would make air travelers pay more for the “passenger facility charge, aiding the U.S. government in financing airport projects related to safety and expansions.

According to a news report by The Associated Press, the new budget would see an increase in passenger-charge fee, used for FAA-approved airport projects, to a maximum of $7 from $4.50 per flight. The move is intended to compensate for the $1.1 billion in cuts to airport grants.

Last week, Obama had proposed $53 billion for high-speed rail projects in the United States. The announcement about cuts in airport spending has disappointed many, including airport authorities, airlines as well as travelers.

Airlines fear the increase in passenger facility charge could affect air travel as it amounts to a $2 billion tax increase on fliers, that could force them to refrain from buying air tickets.

Though smaller airports would be granted money, bigger ones are afraid higher passenger charges will take a toll on air travel.

The economic recession led to a huge loss for airlines in U.S. in 2008 and 2009. While the airlines have begun recovering with about $2.3 billion earning recorded in 2010, the budget’s imposed charges on passenger fee will pose a setback for air travel.