You have more than likely heard reports about the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) controversial procedures at the Nation’s airports. The sad truth is that without Congressional action or internal decisions by TSA, the new “backscatter” machines and gropes at the security line will not go away anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything to improve airline security and Councilor Lewis should be commended for his new legislation R-172 and Albuquerque voters and taxpayers should express their support to their City Councilors via email or at the upcoming Council meeting on December 20.
Why? Although procedures would not be changed immediately, if Lewis’s measure to opt the Sunport out of TSA and hire private screeners is adopted, the Sunport’s security would likely be improved. That’s because TSA, as transportation analyst Bob Poole writes:
TSA is both the provider of airport screening and the regulator of all aspects of aviation security. TSA regulates itself and has hidden its mistakes in the past. It suppressed a report in 2007 showing that private security companies were at least as effective as TSA screeners and that if more careful accounting were done, were probably less costly, too. TSA never released that report, but the Government Accountability Office blew the whistle on TSA’s attempted coverup.
TSA has a monopoly over regulation and a near-monopoly in terms of actual security provision, how effective and efficient (not to mean customer-friendly) are monopolies? Nonetheless, a dozen or so airports across the nation have opted out of TSA including Kansas City and San Francisco, so this is not uncharted territory. While immediate cost savings are unlikely because TSA dictates the wage scale even under the “private” model, costs will certainly not go up.
Lastly, opting out of TSA will send a message to TSA that the citizens of Albuquerque are not pleased with the “service” being provided and that Congress needs to reform TSA or abolish it entirely and allow the airlines and airports manage security themselves. Lewis’s effort is not radical and it won’t solve our problems right away, but it is a big step in the right direction. Drop your Councilor a line and let them know what you think.