Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced approximately US$78 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for airport security technology projects, designed to enhance the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) efforts to strengthen security at airports while creating jobs across the country.
"These technologies will strengthen security for travelers by enhancing our capability to detect and disrupt threats of terrorism," said Secretary Napolitano. "Infusing these vital Recovery Act funds into critical airport security technology projects will create local jobs, streamline the passenger check-in process and bolster security at airports across the nation."
The ARRA funds announced include $28.3 million for the installation of an inline baggage system at San Diego International Airport; $26.6 million for the installation of two inline baggage screening systems at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport; and $11.5 million for the construction of an inline baggage screening system at Little Rock National Airport.
Inline baggage screening systems use advanced technology to screen checked baggage for explosives while streamlining the ticketing and boarding process for travelers. Additionally, the systems provide on-screen resolution capabilities for security officers screening baggage, reducing the number of rescans and physical bag searches.
In addition, Salt Lake City International Airport will receive $4 million to expand their surveillance system, which provides enhanced surveillance capabilities throughout the airport.
DHS also awarded approximately $6.9 million in ARRA funds to assist with the installation of more than 250 reduced-size Explosives Detection Systems (RSEDS), technology used to detect explosives in checked baggage, at more than 60 airports nationwide.
Recently, Secretary Napolitano announced deployments of advanced imaging technology (AIT) units purchased with ARRA funds to 28 additional airports, the second set of airports to receive this new technology under the Recovery Act. These AIT units will bolster security by safely screening passengers for metallic and non-metallic threats including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing.
ARRA, which President Obama signed into law 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, $734 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $266 million is allocated for checkpoint explosives detection technologies.