The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) Board today formally approved a $146 million budget for the construction necessary for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to scan all checked luggage at Logan International Airport. Massport is leading the nation with an aggressive program to expand and enhance baggage handling rooms in 15 separate areas of the airport to house the TSA's new screening equipment and personnel.
This budget was approved at a special board meeting called so that the project could continue its accelerated pace and seven day-a-week work schedule. In June, when Logan became the first major airport in the nation to have an inline 100% bag screening plan approved, the board adopted a preliminary budget of $106 million based on a conceptual design and cost estimates. The initial budget allowed the project to go forward immediately without waiting for more exact estimates and figures that would have delayed construction.
"I met today with Massport's leadership to be briefed on the outstanding plan they have endorsed to achieve the TSA's 100% bag screening requirements by December 31," said Michael P. Jackson, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation. "I am enormously grateful for the energy and drive Massport has shown in working with the federal government. They are real national leaders and superb partners in meeting our ambitious goals for improving aviation security."
The TSA is under a Congressional mandate to implement 100% baggage screening at all of the nation's airports by December 31st, 2002. Massport continues to seek federal reimbursement from the TSA or the FAA for its trail blazing effort in making air travel more secure.
"I am pleased that Massport has reaffirmed its commitment to advance the construction of the 100% hold baggage screening program and working aggressively to meet the federal deadline at Logan," said George Naccara, TSA Federal Security Director for Logan International Airport. "The key to our success is a strong partnership and I will advocate for federal reimbursement to support the Logan program."
Since construction began in July, almost all of the pile driving work has been completed and the authority is moving forward with building the foundations for the new scanning areas. 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.
"What we are doing has never been done before in this amount of time. While I can't guarantee that the deadline will be met, I can guarantee that Logan will continue to lead the country with an arsenal of aggressive security initiatives," said Massport CEO Craig P. Coy. "Our goal is to construct a system for the TSA that offers the best security and delivers the highest quality customer service. Being in the lead, we are paying a premium, but we are setting an example for the whole nation."
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.