Titus Leads Bipartisan Effort to Encourage Travel and Tourism

May 23, 2013
Press Release

May 23, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District sent a bipartisan letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole today encouraging him to expand the eligible populations for TSA’s Pre-Check program. TSA Pre-Check allows select frequent flyers of participating airlines and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs who are flying on participating airlines to receive expedited screening benefits. Expansion of the program would reduce program enrollment costs and increase efficiency of travel for qualified passengers.

"Travel and tourism make up the life-blood of our economy in Southern Nevada," Congresswoman Titus said. "Every year Las Vegas hosts over 21,000 conventions and meetings which bring in close to five million national and international visitors, most of whom come by air. In fact, 43% of the forty million visitors coming to Las Vegas travel through McCarran Airport, the country’s sixth busiest airport.

"As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have made it a priority to increase efficiency and reliability of travel and encourage greater tourism to Southern Nevada," Titus continued. "Expanding the TSA Pre-Check program will not only encourage more travel, both for business and pleasure, but it will also reduce wait times at our nation's busiest airports." 

 

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Administrator Pistole,

As Members of Congress representing some of the nation’s largest airports and tourist destinations, we write to encourage you to expand the eligible populations for TSA Pre✓™, one of TSA’s Risk Based Security (RBS) initiatives. These programs are designed to ensure that intelligence reports and risk models are being used to design comprehensive screening protocols for the nation’s transportation systems.  

Since its inception in October 2011, TSA Pre✓™ has been the cornerstone of the RBS initiatives. More than 8 million travelers have participated in the program that provides eligible passengers an expedited physical screening experience. Participants do not need to remove their shoes, belts, or light jackets when going through a TSA checkpoint, while laptops and 3-1-1 compliant bags can remain in carryon luggage while passing through an x-ray machine. Five airlines and forty airports have partnered with TSA on this initiative and feedback from passengers has been overwhelmingly positive. Many experts believe this model is the future for aviation security.

We write to ask you to expand the eligible populations so that more passengers can utilize the TSA Pre✓™ lanes at airports. As currently constructed, passengers can either qualify through a participating airline or by enrolling in a trusted traveler program, such as Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry. CBP’s Global Entry program permits passengers to be eligible for TSA Pre✓™ for five years and costs $100 per traveler. If a group of five wants to utilize TSA Pre✓™ on their next vacation, they will need to pay $500, wait for their background checks to be completed, visit a CBP Global Entry enrollment site, and then wait for their applications to be finalized. This is a costly and time consuming process that could be completed faster and at less cost to travelers. As you have previously stated, the vast majority of travelers are low risk and should have physical screening to match their risk level.

TSA recently announced a Request For Information (RFI) to seek input from private companies that provide vetting services. It is our understanding that TSA hopes to partner with third party vetting services with the goal of growing the eligible population for TSA Pre✓™. While the RFI is the first step in this process, we encourage you to create opportunities for additional travelers to participate as quickly as possible. We understand TSA is exploring additional options to increase TSA Pre✓™ eligible populations and we are encouraged by your commitment to expanding the program, while keeping privacy concerns in mind. We believe that increasing the opportunities for travelers to participate in TSA Pre✓™ will encourage more travel, both for business and pleasure, while reducing wait times at our nation’s airports. We look forward to working with you on ways to accomplish this goal.

Sincerely,          

Members of Congress

 

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