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TSA debates use of loose change left at airport checkpoints

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

That loose change that you dump into the plastic bins at the airport security checkpoints may not seem like much, but it adds up. And Washington is wrestling with the question of what to do with the change you leave.

In fiscal 2012, the change collected at airports across the country totaled about $531,000, with about $32,000 of that coming in foreign currency, according to the Transportation Security Administration. At Los Angeles International Airport, the nation's third-busiest airport, passenger change added up to nearly $22,000 in the last fiscal year, according to the TSA.

The TSA has been putting the money into its “aviation security fund” to translate airport signs into various languages, among other overhead costs.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., put forward a bill recently to set aside the loose change for use by nonprofit groups that run airport facilities where members of the military and their families can rest while traveling.

“Travelers' lost change is unappropriated dollars that should be put to good use,” Miller said during a House Homeland Security Committee meeting in October.

The bill has been amended and approved in committee and sent to the full House for consideration.

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