Have you left change behind while going through screening at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)? If so, you helped the airport’s TSA staff collect an average of more than $1,760 in each of the three past years–nearly $5,300 during that time. (The biggest “contributor” nationwide was Miami International Airport, MIA). Loose change amounted to $32,590.43 in 2014.) Travelers using (Dane County’s (Wis.) Regional Airport (MSN)) left behind $368.25 in 2014.
Federal law requires the Transportation Safety Administration to report annually on the amount of money collected. Earlier this year, the TSA reported it had collected $674,841.06 nationwide during fiscal year 2014 (which ended Sept. 30, 2014).
While collections at Mitchell International haven’t followed a clear pattern–up one year, down another–nationally TSA has seen an increase in its collections. During FY 2008, TSA collected more than $383,000. The amount surpassed $600,000 in 2013. We can assume some of that is due to an increase in flying as the country came out of the Great Recession. But clearly people are leaving more change and currency at the screening stations. What’s happening here?