TSA cuts security funding for small airports
YARMOUTH, Maine—The Transportation Security Administration is reducing funding that small airports use to provide law enforcement officers at passenger screening points, a move the airports say may ground commercial flights at some facilities, according to the Homeland Security Newswire and other news reports.
The TSA previously mandated that one law enforcement officer be present when commercial passengers are screened at small airports. To pay for those officers, TSA’s Law Enforcement Reimbursement program provided grants to airports based on the number of flights and passengers.
Now, however, the TSA has changed the way if funds the program, resulting in cuts to officers’ wages and hours.
For example, funding to pay for police presence at the Ogdensburg, N.Y., airport was recently reduced nearly 50 percent to $43,800 for the year. The Ogdensburg Police Department has provided an officer for screenings, but “we can’t afford it anymore,” local transportation authority Vice Chairman Frederick Carter told the Watertown Daily Times. “We have to budget for this money or we’re out of the passenger service. We have now hit a crisis; we need to sit down with the city and the TSA and work something out.”