By BEN FOX
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Transportation Security Administration is increasing the penalty for people who violate the mandate to wear masks on planes, trains and other forms of transportation to help stop the spread of COVID-19. President Joe Biden warns that violators should “be prepared to pay.” First-time offenders would face a potential fine of $500 to $1,000 and second offenders could face fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. The fine currently starts at $250. The Department of Homeland Security says the new fines will take effect Friday and the requirement to wear masks on planes, buses and other forms of transportation will remain in effect until at least Jan. 18.