TCRA to save at least $200K per year after airports get reprieve

that requires TSA to guard exit areas
JAMES SHEA | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER | Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:37
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — Tri-Cities Regional Airport is expected to save at least $200,000 a year
after a provision regarding security was inserted into the recently adopted federal budget.
Airport Director Patrick Wilson said Thursday in an interview with the Bristol Herald Courier that the
Transportation Security Administration made a rule change in October that would have required local
airports to take over monitoring the exit lanes when passengers leave the gate area.
Tri-Cities Regional Airport and 154 others across the country where the TSA already provides the
service would have been impacted financially.
“It was issued as a security directive, but it was a cost issue,” Wilson said.
The TSA said it wanted to focus on screening passengers and estimated it could save $88.1 million a
year with the change.
The airport’s authority board planned to discuss TSA’s new rule Thursday, but the item was pulled
from the agenda. Last week, the House passed a two-year budget and the Senate followed suit
Wednesday. Congress added a provision in the bill that requires the TSA to guard the exit areas.
The airport estimated the change would cost between $200,000 and $350,000 per year.
Wilson said an airport trade association filed a lawsuit against the TSA over the rule change. At the
same time, airports around the country appealed to their House and Senate members.
Wilson said a fee is already imposed on the airline business.
“Part of the fee was to go to the TSA to fund the exit lane,” Wilson said.
He added that the congressional reprieve is huge. The airport would have had to pass along the cost to
the airlines, which he said airport officials didn’t want to do.
The airport would have been required to start guarding the exits Jan. 1.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report

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