Airports Welcome Legislation to Reduce TSA Wait Times and Improve Efficiency

WASHINGTON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) today welcomed the introduction of two pieces of legislation that would improve passenger screening efficiency at TSA checkpoints in airports across the United States.  The bipartisan Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016, introduced by Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security Chairman John Katko (R-NY), would provide for greater TSA operational efficiency.  The bipartisan Funding for Aviation Screeners and Threat Elimination Restoration Act (H.R. 5340), introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), and Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) would end the practice of diverting a portion of the 9/11 Passenger Security Fee away from its intended purpose of strengthening security. 

“Today’s legislation is a welcome step in providing meaningful relief for passengers stuck in long lines at TSA security checkpoints in airports across the United States,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “Through Chairman Katko’s bill, we can begin to improve overall security screening efficiency through enhanced collaboration, expanded enrollment in TSA PreCheck, and improved TSA staffing and resource allocation.  We look forward to continuing our work with Congress and TSA to reduce screening checkpoint wait times while maintaining high standards in aviation security.”

“To provide TSA with additional resources, Congress should immediately end the practice of diverting $1.25 billion this year and $15 billion over the course of the decade away from TSA’s core mission,” Burke continued.  “Our passengers deserve better, especially considering they pay for civil aviation security services through the 9/11 Passenger Security Fee every time they buy a plane ticket.  They should be getting their money's worth instead of subsidizing other federal spending.  The bipartisan DeFazio-Thompson-Dold bill is the right solution.”

ACI-NA has led the charge in Washington in seeking relief for airports and passengers who continue to face increasingly long wait times at TSA checkpoints.  As part of industry recommendations to improve efficiency, ACI-NA has advocated for short-term and long-term solutions, including providing TSA with sufficient staffing resources, promoting expanded enrollment in trusted traveler programs like TSA PreCheck, improving TSA’s operational efficiency, and modernizing airport infrastructure.

Most notably, ACI-NA has called on Congress to immediately end the diversion of $13 billion over a ten-year period being collected as part of the TSA passenger screening fee increase in the 2013 Murray-Ryan Budget agreement and instead return that money to TSA.