House Passes Bill to Speed Up Airport Wait Times
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On Tuesday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that will speed up airport wait times. The new law comes after congressional hearings put a focus on the long security lines at the top airports in the country.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who claims the new law will help the government overhaul the Transportation Security Administration. The new legislation gives TSA officials flexibility to shift officers to screening duties, allows Federal Security Directors to make staffing resourcing decisions at local airports, affords the agency the ability to establish a staffing advisory committee and reallocate dog teams to high-volume airports and checkpoints.
In addition, the new law will force TSA officials to assess the way its staffing is allocated and establish minimum staffing numbers. The changes come as the government has faced pressure regarding the massive checkpoint lines and unacceptable wait times at the busiest facilities in the nation.
“With the summer travel season upon us, it should not be the case the passengers are missing flights or that airports are approaching operational ground stop due to long lines at security TSA security checkpoints,” Katko told The Hill. “Today, the House took action to address this crisis. Now, it’s time for the Senate to do its job and take action on this measure.”
The TSA was awarded a $34 million funding shift thanks to lawmakers in order to hire and train new officers, but the agency is waiting for another $28 million to ensure they stay in control of the crowded airports.
“There is evidence that the initial scare over untenable security wait times generated mass corrective action, and that the situation has already improved thanks to modifications by the TSA and travelers adjusting their own behavior,” U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow told The Hill. “But it's critical that we not find ourselves in that situation again.”
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