Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today (Wednesday, August 26) announced more than $240 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for new in-line baggage handling systems at 10 additional airports across the country.

These new projects were made possible by the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) cost assessment and negotiation process, which resulted in reductions in project costs for the airports originally in the pipeline for ARRA funding. TSA’s efforts reflect Secretary Napolitano’s ongoing commitment to creating a culture of efficiency at DHS through the Department-wide Efficiency Review she launched in March to eliminate waste and redundancies while identifying cost savings opportunities and streamlining operations.

“By managing our Recovery Act funds responsibly, we are able to stretch our resources even further to deploy new security equipment to more airports across the country," said Secretary Napolitano. “These state-of-the-art baggage systems will inject critical resources into local communities while making travel safer.”

The new equipment incorporates enhanced explosive detection technology to provide on-screen viewing capabilities for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers conducting baggage screenings and reduces the number of re-scans and physical bag searches. This will strengthen security efforts while reducing the time necessary to scan baggage while streamlining airport procedures for passengers, making it easier to move through ticketing and boarding.

TSA issued conditional letters to the following 10 airports informing each that checked baggage explosives detection system projects are being considered for execution under ARRA:

  • Washington Dulles International Airport (Chantilly, Va.)
  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (St. Louis)
  • Yellowstone Regional Airport (Cody, Wyo.)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
  • St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
  • Gallatin Field Airport (Bozeman, Mont.)
  • Little Rock National Airport (Little Rock, Ark.)
  • Tulsa International Airport (Tulsa, Okla.)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Colorado Springs Airport (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Earlier this year, Secretary Napolitano announced ARRA funding for checked baggage explosive detection systems at airports in: Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Honolulu, Hawaii; Huntsville, Ala.; Jackson, Wyo.; Maui, Hawaii; New Orleans; Orange County, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Portland, Maine; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco; and San Jose, Calif.

In awarding ARRA funds, DHS prioritizes shovel-ready projects that infuse resources into local economies quickly while meeting critical security needs.

To date, Secretary Napolitano has announced a total of $104 million in ARRA funding for explosive detection system projects at San Francisco International, Philadelphia International, Jackson Hole, Sacramento International, Kahului, Honolulu International and Orlando International Airports. She also announced approximately $7.7 million in ARRA funding for the installation of new closed circuit television systems at four additional airports to enhance threat detection and emergency response efforts.

ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 19, committed more than $3 billion for homeland security projects through DHS and the General Services Administration (GSA). Of the $1 billion allocated to TSA for aviation security projects, $700 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $300 million is allocated for checkpoint explosive detection technology.