Tests expected to be stringent, but tweak not so drastic, says US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters Sunday that her department will tighten rules for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s pledge to reduce check wait times for travelers traveling between U.S. cities.
“(The proposal) is supposed to make it harder for terrorists to get through our security, and that’s a positive measure,” Chao said, prior to the North American Leaders Summit in Ottawa. “We’re talking about making sure that … we have the ability to check everybody.”
The Department of Homeland Security is expected to send out a proposal next week that will make travelers, including those flying through the TSA, wait in screened-only lines, away from the larger areas of the airport, until the system can screen and prioritize those with potential vulnerabilities.
“After losing an average of 38 minutes each trip last year, the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry program was a key success in the battle against the threat of hostile travel,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in July.
The plan was endorsed in July by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), as well as President Donald Trump.
Nielsen has also vowed to work to reduce wait times for all travelers, using intelligence to prioritize travelers with the most outstanding security threats or critical needs to check in and secure their boarding position.
“This will include expediting the implementation of (cyber-physical threat) assessment teams and screening technology that are rapidly accelerating our ability to identify potential threats,” she said.
Critics have called for stronger measures to maintain a more efficient process, with the Transportation Security Administration pointing to data as evidence of a sharp rise in line disruptions in the industry since Oct. 1, 2016. At that time, the agency reported an average of 44-51 minutes between check-in and boarding.