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Alaska, Hawaii Senators Seek Exemption From Higher Security Fees for Their States

Murkowski is working with Schatz and Hirono on the bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three senators from Alaska and Hawaii are pushing to exempt flights within their states from higher security fees.  

The legislation is another example of the noncontiguous states trying to work together to address concerns that senators from the other 48 states might not be familiar with. Democratic Sens. Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz of Hawaii joined Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski in reviving the effort Wednesday. The newest delegation member from the two states, Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan, had not signed on.  

"Hawaii residents and visitors have no real alternative to commercial interisland flights to meet their everyday transportation needs, from flying to receive health care, visit family, or on business. As a result, the increased passenger fee has a real effect on Hawaii families and small businesses that aren't felt in other parts of the country," Hirono said in a statement.  

"The aviation fee hike has a disproportionate impact on Alaskans and Hawaii residents who often don’t have a straight-shot option in getting from Point A to Point B like those in the Lower 48," added Murkowski. "Whether you're an Alaskan on the 'milk run' or trying to get into a hub from off the road system, logistics means that we need multiple legs on different airlines to get to your destination."  

The topography of Alaska often requires using Essential Air Service flights to jump between communities, and the same can be said for travel between Hawaiian islands. The EAS itself has no shortage of critics on Capitol Hill, and it always becomes a flash point in debating legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration.  

Related: Alaska, Hawaii Delegations Look to Build On Relations The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.