August 3, 2012
If the US government wants to save its taxpayers $1 billion and increase their safety in one fell swoop, then they need only look to expanding privatized airport security.
Formed in 2002, the TSA has long had total control over airport security screening. Even though it initiated the Security Partnership Program (SPP) 8 years ago, only 3 major airports have taken advantage of this worthwhile program which allows U.S. airports to opt out of federal screening and instead privatize their security forces.
Heritage’s Jessica Zuckerman explains the SPP allows “ U.S. airports to opt out of federal screening and instead privatize their security forces.” Last week, Sacramento Airport became the third major U.S. airport to receive approval from the TSA to move forward with privatizing their security screening.
Sacramento’s abandonment of the government-run TSA is a significant step forward. The TSA has resisted expanding the SPP, with its head, John Pistole, stating that he did not see “any clear or substantial advantage to doing so at this time.”
Fortunately, as Zuckerman explains, Congress opposed the TSA’s belief:
In this year’s Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill, Congress passed a provision requiring that TSA consider all SPP applications in a fair, timely, and transparent manner. The legislation further dictates that any application that does not threaten to “not compromise security or detrimentally affect the cost-efficiency or the effectiveness of screening” must be approved… . According to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, however, U.S. taxpayers would save “$1 billion over five years if the Nation’s top 35 airports operated as efficiently as [San Francisco International Airport] does under the SPP model.” This same study also concluded that SPP screeners are 65 percent more efficient than federal screeners.
If this program can simultaneously save taxpayers $1 billion and increase their safety by 65%, then Congress must insist that the TSA work to increasing the SPP.
Do you think airport security screening should be privatized?