by Matt Alderton | April 12, 2013
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should expand its express security checkpoint program — TSA PreCheck — to more passengers at more airports. So argues U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Geoff Freeman, who yesterday delivered testimony in support of the program before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security.

“[PreCheck] is the best example of a truly risk-based initiative that increases security and efficiency, and could eventually reduce budgetary costs,” Freeman told lawmakers.

TSA PreCheck — or TSA Pre✓™ — is a voluntary “trusted traveler” program that allows eligible fliers who pass a background check in advance of flying to pass more quickly through security checkpoints thanks to a special expedited screening lane that does not require passengers to remove their shoes, belts, coats, laptops or carry-on toiletries. Launched in 2011, its goal is removing low-risk passengers from the regular security screening process so that TSA officers can focus on riskier, unknown travelers.

Although PreCheck has proven to be effective, it’s currently offered only at 40 U.S. airports, and is available only to select passengers — passengers who are enrolled in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry pre-screening program, or participants in airline frequent flyer programs who have accumulated a significant number of miles flown with that airline.

“U.S. Travel fully supports TSA’s request for private sector proposals to expand PreCheck,” Freeman said. “Through an innovative public/private partnership with TSA, private-sector companies can quickly help the agency boost enrollment and utilization rates for PreCheck, and reduce TSA’s budget by shifting operational costs from TSA to the private sector. These types of partnerships also provide new, important revenue streams to local airport authorities, an added benefit in tight budgetary times.”

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