Letters to the Editor

Here’s what TSA does and how it is funded

A recent letter writer stated the State of Illinois took $600,000 from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) budget. This is not true. I state this due to my experience in my previous job where I performed airport security surveys at Los Angeles, Washington-Reagan and the four airports in New York City using the Aviation Security Act of 2001 as my guideline.

The TSA is mostly funded by a passenger service fee of about $8 to $15 per trip, based on the air fare. However Congress did take some of the transportation security funds for deficit reduction. Due to recent backlogs at passenger screening points, Congress has moved some of the funds back.

Airport authorities, not the TSA, are responsible for security on the Air Operations Area which includes the ramps, runways, plus the terminals, cargo areas and the parking lots. Most airport authorities or commissions operate independently of mayors and governors and they generally control their law enforcement and security budget and as required by law, U.S. airports must have a sworn police agency at the airport.

As an example, Lambert-St Louis IAP, where I fly out almost weekly, has St Louis city police officers detailed to the airport and they use a security contractor for security of the parking garages and other areas. The TSA conducts screening of all passengers, plus they also have intelligence and compliance operations and screen all checked baggage below the terminal floor, called a Federal Inspection Station.

Phil Henning, Smithton