US Budgets $98 Million for X-Ray and Baggage Screening at Airports

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced approximately US$98 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for advanced technology X-ray units and inline baggage screening systems' enhancing the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) efforts to strengthen airport security while boosting the local economy.

"These technologies will strengthen security for travelers by enhancing our capability to detect and disrupt threats," said Secretary Napolitano. "Dedicating these vital Recovery Act funds to critical airport security technology projects will create local jobs, streamline the passenger check-in process and bolster security at airports across the nation."

"The deployment of enhanced checked and carry-on baggage screening technology is critical to TSA's efforts to stay ahead of evolving threats to aviation security and ensure the safety of the traveling public," said John Pistole, TSA Administrator.

The ARRA funds include approximately $68.8 million supplemented by $17.5 million in fiscal year 2009 funds for the purchase and installation of next-generation X-ray units to screen carry-on baggage for explosives and prohibited items at airports nationwide.

These X-ray systems screen carry-on baggage for explosives or prohibited items at checkpoints featuring enhanced detection capabilities that enable TSA to detect new threats as well as second viewing stations, which will streamline the bag check process for officers. Currently, TSA employs more than 940 X-ray units at airports nationwide.

In addition, approximately $28.9 million from ARRA will fund the construction of an inline baggage screening system in Terminal 1 of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. $335,860 in ARRA funds will also go to Colorado Springs Airport to complete the design for a checked baggage screening system.

Inline screening systems use technology to screen checked baggage for explosives, while streamlining the ticketing and boarding process for passengers. Additionally, the systems provide on-screen resolution capabilities for security officers screening baggage reducing the number of rescans and physical bag searches.

ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009, committed more than $3 billion for homeland security projects through DHS and the General Services Administration. Of the $1 billion allocated to TSA for aviation security projects, approximately $734 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $266 million is allocated for airport checkpoint screening and closed circuit surveillance technologies.
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