March 10, 2009 By News Report
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced $1 billion in aviation security projects to be funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"This is a great opportunity for us to accelerate our strategic plan for checked baggage security screening, improving security and convenience at some of our nation's busiest airports as well as supporting President Obama's plan to stimulate the economy," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "The proposed construction projects are projected to create more than 3,000 jobs and will continue our security strategy of risk-based application of assets and funds."
The department plans to use the funds to accelerate the implementation of optimal checked baggage solutions and the enhanced detection of liquid threats in carry-on baggage. To support this strategy DHS is proposing a plan to allocate $700 million to checked baggage explosive detection systems and $300 million to checkpoint explosive detection technology.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued conditional letters to 17 airports today informing them their checked baggage explosive detection system projects are being considered for execution under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Those airports are Anchorage, Alaska; Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Honolulu; Huntsville, Ala.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Maui, Hawaii; New Orleans; Orange County, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Portland, Maine; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Tallahassee, Fla.
Airports are required to submit updated project information prior to final approval. TSA will assess readiness and final cost estimates. DHS would dedicate the $300 million in checkpoint technology to procuring and deploying additional X-ray units, whole body imaging technology and bottled liquid scanners.
Final airport project selections will occur as designs and costs are validated. DHS expects to start obligating funds as early as late spring.