A TSA agent screened travelers through security at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Paul Bersebach | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Travelers who refuse to wear masks could soon face fines of up to $ 3,000.

The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that fines will be doubled for travelers who fail to follow a state mask mandate on air, bus and other transportation. The minimum penalties are doubled, starting at $ 500 and going up to $ 3,000 for repeat offenders.

The Biden government last month extended the federal mask mandate for air, bus and rail travel to January 18 to slow the spread of Covid-19 as infections surge across the country. It should expire in mid-September.

Airline crews have been tasked with enforcing state masking policies on airplanes and have repeatedly complained of increases in recalcitrant passenger behavior, many of which have been linked to mandate violations.

Nearly 75% of the nearly 4,200 recalcitrant passenger cases received by the Federal Aviation Administration that year included disputes over compliance with federal mask rules for aircraft.

“If you break the rules, be ready to pay,” President Joe Biden said Thursday, revealing comprehensive measures to eradicate Covid, including plans for vaccine mandates that would apply to millions of US workers.

“And show some respect, by the way,” Biden said after a spate of cases of recalcitrant and sometimes violent behavior towards flight attendants. “It’s wrong. It’s ugly.”