Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has written a letter to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Administrator, John Pistole, calling on the agency to reverse course on a plan that would shift responsibility for monitoring exit lanes to airports. This would detrimentally impact airports budgets and would cost alone would cost an additional $2 million per year at the Philadelphia airport. Currently, the agency is considering shifting the responsibility for exit lane monitoring from TSA to local airports. The decisions would add significant costs to airports and may strain current personnel with a new, major security responsibility.
“Monitoring the security of exit lanes has traditionally been the responsibility of the TSA. It’s an important function and should remain TSA’s responsibility,” Senator Casey said. “TSA needs to fully hear the concerns of airports like Philadelphia International who could see added costs and increased strains on personnel due to this shift in security responsibilities.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter is below:
The Honorable John S. Pistole
Transportation Security Administration
601 12th Street South
Arlington, VA 20598
Dear Administrator Pistole:
I write to express my concern about your agency’s intention to shift the responsibility of monitoring exit lane access areas to the airport operators.
It has come to my attention that despite the fact that airlines pay TSA to monitor exit lanes as part of the Aviation Security Infrastructure Fee, the TSA will no longer be fulfilling that obligation and intends to shift this responsibility entirely to the airports. It is my understanding that the cost implications of monitoring exit lanes are significant and may pose challenging for airports and airlines, who ultimately may absorb the cost. Moreover, the shift of responsibility of monitoring exit lanes will force airports to use direct employees for this function or hire contract security personnel. As you are aware, this change will impact hundreds of airports across the country, several of which are in Pennsylvania. The additional expenses at Philadelphia International Airport alone are estimated to be $2 million on an annual basis.
I have been informed that a comment period recently concluded in which airports and the industry had the opportunity to submit their concerns. I urge you to carefully review all feedback and work to find an amicable solution that will not unduly burden airports. I stand ready to assist you in this effort and appreciate your attention to my concerns.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator