DHS Authorizes $350 Million to Help Airports Meet Security D

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has signed “Letters of Intent” to three of the nation’s largest airports to help defray the costs of installing permanent explosive detection systems that are integrated with the airport’s checked baggage conveyor systems.

The three airports, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, are the first airports to enter into these arrangements with the Transportation Security Administration, (TSA) a subsidiary of DHS. TSA expects to agree to similar financial arrangements with several more airports in the next few weeks.

Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge said “Full inline baggage screening is a crucial element in our overall homeland security strategy. The ‘Letters of Intent’ will speed up the process of installing this critical security equipment at these airports, and we look forward to expanding this program to other airports soon.”

This is the first in a series of “Letters of Intent” that TSA is negotiating with a number of airports across the country. In this round of agreements Seattle/Tacoma International Airport will receive $159 million, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport $104 million, and Boston Logan International Airport $87 million, subject to the availability of funds.

TSA Administrator Adm. James M. Loy pledged last year to assist airports with capital improvements resulting from federal security mandates. He said, “these agreements will give airports the resources they need to meet the security challenges they face in the post-September 11th world. Last year, TSA made a commitment to provide assistance to airports. By signing these ‘Letters of Intent’ TSA is once again following through on its commitments.”

“Letters of Intent” are the result of agreements negotiated between airports and TSA that provide an intent to reimburse airports, from future appropriations, the cost of capital improvements required to meet Congressional security mandates. As part of these agreements, TSA will pay 75% of permitted costs over a three to four year period while airports agree to cover the remaining portion of those costs.

Permitted capital improvement costs include preliminary site preparations, structural reinforcement to support new equipment, electrical work, heating, air conditioning and other environmental improvements, as well as conveyor belts, tables, and physical enhancements necessary to operate an in line system.

A memorandum of agreement accompanies each “Letter of Intent” and binds airports to programmatic, technical, and cost targets.

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