Feds to Take Security Helm at T.F. Green Airport

Jul 1, 2002
(Warwick, R.I.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the federal agency created to oversee airport security after September 11th, will begin taking over security duties at Rhode Island’s largest airport this week.  The federalization of airport security was mandated under the Transportation Security Act (H.R. 3150), legislation Langevin supported.

 During House debate on the legislation, Langevin urged support for the bill on the House floor, stating:

 “Aviation security is of particular concern in Rhode Island, where our state airport is located in a populated urban area.  We must safeguard this facility and all of our nation’s airports from potential threats, not only for the benefit of passengers and workers, but also to allay the fears of people in neighboring homes and businesses.   H.R. 3150’s provision requiring all checked baggage to be screened by explosive-detection devices is an important step to enhance security and guarantee peace of mind to the traveling public.”

The Transportation Security Administration, which has responsibility for civil aviation security, reports that it is in the process of establishing federal security operations in the nation’s commercial airports.  TSA will deploy federal personnel, including passenger and baggage screeners, to all airports by Nov. 19, 2002, and is responsible for having checked baggage-screening equipment in place by Dec. 31, 2002. 

According to the Department of Transportation, the federalization process consists of three steps: a site survey to determine the best design of the checkpoints and baggage screening areas; checkpoint and baggage screening reconfiguration to best facilitate security and safety of the flying public; and the deployment of a general screening workforce. The timeframe between arrival of the site assessment team and full deployment of a federal screening workforce depends on the size of the airport and other factors. The recruitment, assessment, training and deployment of screeners at a given airport will take five weeks or longer.

T.F. Green is one of 133 airports, including Boston’s Logan Airport, where the TSA will begin to provide security services this week.  The TSA expects to have fully deployed federal screeners in every U.S. airport by November 19th and explosive detection systems in all airports by December 31.

“In addition to better protecting the traveling public, federalization of airport security will also provide a well-timed and much-needed boost to the travel and tourism sector, which is the second largest industry in the state of Rhode Island.,” added Langevin.  “I have heard the concerns of airline employees and passengers, hotel workers, rental car companies, travel agents, and restaurant owners.  We all agree that Congress must restore confidence in air travel in order to keep America's economy on the road to recovery.”