DHS to pay for airport security tech

The Homeland Security Department has agreed to pay $350 million toward installing permanent explosive detection systems at three major airports.

DHS officials signed letters of intent July 7 that direct the Transportation Security Administration to pay 75 percent of the cost required to integrate the technology into baggage systems at the Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport.

These are the first airports to reach this type of arrangement with TSA. Several more airports are negotiating with the agency and are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

"Full inline baggage screening is a crucial element in our overall homeland security strategy," DHS Secretary Tom Ridge said. "The letters of intent will speed up the process of installing this critical security equipment at these airports, and we look forward to expanding this program to other airports soon."

Under the agreements, Seattle/Tacoma will receive $159 million, Dallas/Fort Worth $104 million and Boston Logan $87 million.

The agreements provide for TSA to reimburse the airports, from future appropriations, the cost of improvements required to meet congressional mandates. The agency will pay its portion over three to four years.

"These agreements will give airports the resources they need to meet the security challenges they face in the post-Sept. 11, [2001] world," said agency Administrator James Loy. "Last year, TSA made a commitment to provide assistance to airports. By signing these letters of intent, TSA is once again following through on its commitments."

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