|July 16, 2002|
This afternoon, Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12) introduced the Aviation Security Enhancement Act. The bill gives the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) the flexibility to work with individual airports to develop the best baggage screening solution.
"This bill is a common sense fix to avoid the security train wreck we face on January 1, 2003," stated Congresswoman Granger. "We will be providing TSA with the flexibility they need to ensure every airport is able to put in place the best baggage screening security systems they can at the soonest possible date."
On November 26, 2001, Congress passed the Aviation Security Act, which established a December 31, 2002 deadline for all airports to check luggage for explosives. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) was established to oversee the implementation of this mandate and a number of other transportation security measures.
Today it is estimated that 25 percent of America's airports will not be able to meet the December 31st deadline and will be forced to use costly interim systems to meet the demands of the law. The Granger Aviation Security Enhancement Act gives TSA the flexibility to work with the remaining 25% of airports to develop long term security solutions. The end result will be efficient final security systems that bypass costly interim solutions.
In a speech this morning to the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), Congresswoman Granger highlighted the bill's language which encourages testing of new baggage screening technology.
"The security systems we are using today could be much better. Included in this legislation is a pilot program to test new bag screening technology that will ultimately make American air travel the safest in the world," said Granger.
The bill has received broad support from members of both parties in the House of Representatives. Along with Congresswoman Granger, Congressman Ed Pastor (D, AZ-02) and Congressman Sam Johnson (R, TX-03) collaborated to write the bill. The bill has twenty-two cosponsors, fifteen of which are Republicans and seven Democrats. Cosponsors include John Mica (FL-07), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Martin Frost (TX-24), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Congressman Sam Johnson stated, "In the wake of September 11th, Congress took decisive action to correct the dire security situation in America's airports. Now it's time for Congress to build on that process. We must be flexible and open to updates and improvements to protect our people, our country, and our skies. This bill does just that."