Fort Worth

More Money Headed to Address Airport Security Wait Times

More relief from long wait times at security check points could be coming to airports across the country.

The House Appropriations Committee's proposed budget for the 2017 fiscal year for the Department of Homeland Security includes $163 million more for the Transportation Security Administration than the 2016 fiscal year budget. That would bring TSA's total budget to $7.6 billion, according to a news release from the committee.

It's an additional $21.8 million that the president requested for the department will add more transportation security officers, privatized screening operations and more passenger and baggage screening equipment.

The committee announced the numbers Wednesday and the Homeland Security subcommittee of the House will take up that budget proposal Thursday.

The appropriations committee said the additional money is aimed specifically to enhance aviation security, saying it will reduce "unacceptably long wait times" at airports across the country.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines said during the Spring Break travel period D/FW International Airport was the second worst airport for passengers missing flights due to long security lines. 

The committee says $19.8 million, of the additional $21.8 million, will create 50 more canine teams under the TSA. The committee said that money will expedite the hiring, training and deployment of those canine search teams.

The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, so the money will not have an immediate impact on screening wait times.

However, on Tuesday the TSA said it's made progress in improving those wait times. The agency said 99 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes in lines during the Memorial Day weekend.

The agency said it's adding  more lanes and staff during peak times, especially at the nation's seven busiest airports which does include DFW International.

The additional money must first be approved by the subcommittee, than the appropriations committee, the House of Representatives, and also pass the U.S. Senate before the president can sign the budget into law.

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