With the help of top elected officials, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) has received $30 million from the Department of Transportation (DOT) as reimbursement for the construction of bag screening facilities at Logan International Airport. The initial installment will go towards the $146 million in construction necessary for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to scan all checked bags at Logan.
"During these tough fiscal times, federal funding is vital as we invest in security to safeguard our citizens," said Governor Jane Swift. "By leading the way on airport security, Massport has earned the strong support of the federal government."
"This 30 million is a significant investment toward meeting the security needs of those traveling through Logan Airport. Massport and the Dept. of Transportation have worked hard this past year, and their efforts are showing," Senator Edward Kennedy said. "As a result of this federal and state coordination, Logan is on track to serve as a role model for airports across the nation in terms of technology and security systems."
"This is an important step in the federal government's effort to maximize the security for those who use Logan," said Senator John Kerry. "I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that all of our airports are made as safe as possible."
Governor Swift recently discussed this issue with President George W. Bush while members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation worked with DOT and TSA officials to secure this essential funding. Over the last four weeks, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, and Congressman Capuano have written to the TSA urging the agency to reward Massport's aggressive push with federal reimbursement.
"These federal funds will help Massport meet the goal of screening all checked baggage at Logan Airport by the December 31st deadline. I commend Massport for their commitment to making this important security enhancement happen and I will continue to provide assistance whenever I can," stated Congressman Capuano.
Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said, "This first installment of federal funds will ensure that Massport is able to continue to meet the critical safety needs of the traveling public. We fully acknowledge that Massport has already taken the initiative to make the investment in updating their baggage screening and security systems, and this $30 million federal reimbursement is in support of their aggressive efforts to lead the way in meeting the federal mandate."
In June 2002, Logan became the first major airport to have a 100% inline bag screening plan approved by the TSA. Since then, Massport has worked aggressively to build the infrastructure required for the TSA to meets its Congressionally-mandated deadline for 100% bag screening of December 31st, 2002. Massport will continue to seek federal reimbursement for its trail blazing effort to make air travel more secure.
"Our governor, senators and congressmen have delivered a major down payment, ensuring that Logan Airport remains at the forefront of aviation security," said Massport CEO Craig P. Coy. "They, along with Secretary Mineta and Admiral Loy, have stood with us every step of the way as we collaborate to make Logan a model for the nation."
Massport's first-in-the-nation program will expand and enhance baggage handling rooms in 15 separate areas of the airport to house the TSA's new screening equipment and personnel. Since construction began in July, the pile driving work has been completed, foundations have been built and steel frames, walls and roofing erected at many of the sites.
Massport developed Logan's 100% bag screening program in conjunction with the TSA and an internationally recognized design and construction team hired in March 2002. The luggage screening plan calls for an inline system built in enhanced and expanded baggage handling rooms throughout the airport. This design allows the TSA to install and operate the explosive detection system without decreasing the public space available to passengers in the airport terminals. The project provides a permanent solution integrated with airline and airport operations and avoids any temporary or makeshift design or procedures to achieve 100% checked luggage screening.
During a peak hour, the airlines at Logan handle up to 5,000 pieces of luggage. As designed, the inline 100% bag screening system will accommodate present and future capacity.
In preparation for new federal guidelines and requirements, Massport hosted a two-day infrastructure security seminar in January 2002 with 100 participants from nearly 20 U.S. airports, the FAA, and several construction and security firms. The seminar focused on incorporating federally mandated security initiatives in the design and construction of existing and new airport facilities.
Massport's efforts to have all checked luggage screened at Logan are part of a series of nationally-recognized initiatives that include purchasing advanced identification scanning devices, arming State Police troopers with handheld computers for background checks and developing a behavior pattern recognition program to profile for potential terrorists.