TSA will need more money to secure airports

The fledgling Transportation Security Administration is likely to run out of money by the end of the month.

The costs associated with implementing the Aviation and Transportation Security Act are exceeding estimates, Transportation Department inspector general Kenneth Mead told the House Transportation Subcommittee on Appropriations last month.

The law requires the agency to hire federal baggage screeners at 429 airports, install explosive detection equipment and screen all checked baggage by December. But the agency likely will hire about twice as many screeners as originally planned and is finding that installing detection equipment will cost more and take longer than expected, Mead said.

The Bush administration has asked Congress for an emergency supplement of $4.4 billion. TSA received $2.4 billion for fiscal 2002 and has requested $4.8 billion for 2003.

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