U.S. Travel Applauds Progress on Trusted Traveler Program

The U.S. Travel Association applauded the House Appropriations Committee for moving the 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Act to the House floor. The bill includes committee support for several major goals of U.S. Travel’s 2011 policy agenda, including major reforms to the aviation security system, U.S. Travel said. Many of the bill’s goals align with the recommendations of the U.S. Travel report on aviation security, titled "A Better Way." U.S. Travel is encouraging the full House to pass the bill expeditiously and send it to the Senate for their consideration.

Specifically, the U.S. Travel Association strongly supports language in the committee report that recommends the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) use its existing statutory authority to develop and test a trusted traveler program for U.S. citizens who voluntarily submit to background check.

In March 2011, the U.S. Travel Association issued "A Better Way," which recommended that such a trusted traveler program be created to increase security and expedite passenger screening. “The U.S. Travel Association is strongly supportive of TSA’s efforts to independently design and implement a risk-based trusted traveler program, and thanks the House Appropriations Committee for encouraging TSA to quickly turn those efforts into an attractive program for travelers.”

The U.S. Travel Association also said it strongly supports report language encouraging TSA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to streamline the processing of inbound international passengers.

The report language asked the CBP and TSA to develop a pilot program whereby low-risk international inbound passengers and their baggage arriving from locations with certified screening standards would not have to be re-screened before departing for another U.S. destination. The U.S. Travel report on aviation security cited the re-screening of inbound international passengers as a major source of traveler frustration and recommended that methods be examined to eliminate such duplicative screening while maintaining security.

"We congratulate Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member David Price for their thoughtful engagement on issues affecting the travel experience,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “It is clear they understand that we must develop smarter security systems to keep the travel process efficient and effective, especially in today’s economic environment."

Among other positive provisions in the bill, the U.S. Travel Association also supports funding provided in the bill for 300 additional CBP officers and report language encouraging CBP and TSA to more closely track and report on passenger wait times.

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