NEW YORK (CBS) – The Transportation Security Administration is proving that all that loose change really does add up. In 2010, the TSA reported that they collected $409,085.56 in loose change.
Specifically, the TSA collected $376,480.39 in U.S. change, and $32,605.17 in foreign currency. Air Travelers Association president David Stempler told USA Today that money is often left behind by people rushing through checkpoints or by foreign travelers who just don’t have a need for U.S. change.
It’s not just a one-year windfall, either. According to KNSD in San Diego, the TSA collected $364,000 in 2008, and $399,000 in 2009.
“Many people aren’t carrying change these days anyway,” Stempler told USA Today. “It just weighs down in their pockets and purses. I know in the city I see a lot of people giving it to homeless people just to get rid of the change.”
Agency spokesman Greg Soule told USA Today that the TSA does their best to give passengers any items they left at the checkpoint. But the money that can’t be returned is used to finance the agency’s budget.
Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., is proposing legislation that will donate what he called “unclaimed taxpayer money” to the USO.
Passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York were the most forgetful with their change, leaving behind a total of $46,918.06 in 2010. Los Angeles International gathered $19,110.83, while Hartsfield Atlanta International and San Francisco International collected $16,523.83 and $15,844.83 respectively. Miami International rounded out the top five with $15,844.83.
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