ASTA has joined a number of other travel groups in signing a
letter of support for the TSA Modernization Act.
The bill (S. 1872) was introduced by Sen. John Thune
(R-S.D.) last month. It includes reforms of the TSA's organizational structure,
provisions to develop and acquire new security technologies, a plan to increase
security in public areas, and "pathways to mitigate frustrating security
If passed, the bill would address shortages in bomb-sniffing
dogs, expand the PreCheck program and provide wait times in real time.
The bill also authorizes TSA funding for three years at
$7.81 billion in fiscal year 2018, $7.85 billion in 2019, and $7.89 billion in 2020
(its budget was $7.77 billion in fiscal year 2017.)
The bill's cosponsors are senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy
Blunt (R-Mo.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
"ASTA strongly supports efforts to expand the PreCheck
program to the broadest possible proportion of the flying public while
maintaining a high level of security, and in our view S. 1872 does just that,"
said Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president of advocacy.
Other industry supporters are the Global Business Travel
Association, Airlines for America, the U.S. Travel Association, IATA, Travel
Tech, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Travelers United.
In a joint letter to senate leadership, the associations
wrote that they support the TSA Modernization Act and its provisions,
especially the expansion of PreCheck.
"It is clear that the rate with which air travel
continues to grow outpaces the PreCheck's current rate of enrollment," the
letter states. "The risk to aviation security continues to evolve as
terrorists continue to look for new ways to carry out deadly attacks on our
nation's aviation system. New threats continue to emerge. While PreCheck does
not necessarily allay these threats, it is an important tool for TSA that
removes risk from aviation security and is an important part of the agency's risk
based approach to aviation security."
If passed, the bill would enable the TSA the ability to
explore options like expanding PreCheck enrollment with third parties, giving
the administration the ability to drive enrollment.