KATKO INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO MAXIMIZE EFFICIENCY & TRANSPARENCY AT TSA, REDUCE AIRPORT WAIT TIMES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following two House Homeland Security inquiries this week into the growing TSA wait lines at airports around the country, Representative Katko introduced the bipartisan Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016, to overhaul TSA bureaucracy and help relieve congestion at airports as peak travel season approaches. The legislation directly addresses the efficiency of the TSA, as well as the current, flawed staffing model used by this agency.
“Travelers are frustrated with TSA’s bureaucracy – facing longer lines, and in some cases, missing flights and having to return home or stay overnight in the airport,” said Representative Katko. “This is a crisis that must be addressed before we head into the busy summer months of travel. Today, I’ve introduced legislation which takes the first step in requiring greater coordination between the TSA and local airports so that we can relieve congestion and ensure that travelers are able to make it to their destinations on schedule.”
The legislation introduced by Representative Katko today is the result of significant feedback from the airline industry as well as airports around the country, including Christina Callahan, Executive Director of the Syracuse Hancock International Airport, who testified this morning before Representative Katko’s Transportation Security subcommittee on local efforts to ensure checkpoint efficiency.
“This measure provides greater flexibility and accountability to the TSA – allowing the agency to better utilize its personnel by collaborating with local airports and air carriers to ensure that staffing is best allocated at each individual airport,” continued Representative Katko. “Moreover, by opening communication between local airports, air carriers and the TSA, this commonsense legislation will help ensure that passengers have minimal wait times.”
Specifically, the legislation introduced by Representative Katko would:
- Grant TSA the flexibility to utilize all personnel present to compensate for long wait lines, including reallocating Behavior Detection Officers to speed up passenger screening efforts and granting greater authority to Federal Security Directors, who know the individual airport best, to make staffing resource decisions.
- Ensure that private stakeholders, airports, and government regulators are coordinating response through a staffing advisory committee.
- Require TSA to assess its current staffing allocation model and share this model with both air carriers and airports.
- Reallocate canine team assets to high volume airports and checkpoints.
- Require TSA to establish a service level agreement and minimum staffing numbers with air carriers and airports.
Last week, Representative Katko called on the U.S. Senate to unblock legislation that he unanimously passed out of the House, the PreCheck Expansion Act. This legislation would expedite airport screenings by requiring the TSA to make the PreCheck process simpler, for example, by allowing travelers to apply online and by expanding enrollment centers.
Congressman John Katko serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he chairs the Transportation Security Subcommittee. He represents the 24th Congressional District of New York, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and the western portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.