DHS pledges over $185 million to help Atlanta and Phoenix airports meet security demands

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National Press Release
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today signed "Letters of Intent," also known as LOIs, with two airport authorities to help defray the costs of installing permanent explosives detection systems integrated with the airports' checked baggage conveyor systems.

The two airports are the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. They are the latest to enter into such arrangements with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of DHS.

This third round of agreements projects Federal funding of $93.75 million for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and $91.5 million for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. These funds, along with agreements signed this past summer for Seattle-Tacoma, Dallas/Fort Worth, Logan (Boston), Denver, McCarran (Las Vegas), Los Angeles and Ontario (California) International Airports bring the total amount of projected funding to more than $955 million.

Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge said, "Full in-line baggage screening is a crucial element in our overall homeland security strategy. The 'Letters of Intent' will speed the process of installing this critical security equipment at these airports."

TSA Acting Administrator David M. Stone has pledged to continue the agency's commitment to assist airports with capital improvements resulting from Federal security mandates. Stone said the agreements "will give airports the resources they need to meet the security challenges they face in the post-September 11th world." The LOIs are the result of agreements negotiated between airports and TSA that provide an intent to reimburse airports, a portion of the cost of capital improvements required to meet Congressional security mandates. As part of these agreements, TSA's share is expected to be 75 percent of permitted costs over a three-to four-year period while airports agree to cover the remaining portion of those costs.

Permitted capital improvement costs include preliminary site preparations, structural reinforcement to support new equipment, electrical work, heating, air conditioning and other environmental improvements, as well as conveyor belts, tables and physical enhancements necessary to operate an in-line baggage screening system.

A memorandum of agreement accompanies each LOI and binds airports to programmatic, technical, and cost targets.