For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced approximately $15 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the construction of two new inline baggage handling systems at Orlando International Airport (MCO)—a project designed to accelerate the passenger check-in process and enhance screening capabilities and airport safety.
“This new technology will strengthen security and streamline the baggage screening process at one of the country’s busiest tourist destinations,” said Secretary Napolitano. “These baggage handling systems will better equip Orlando International to detect explosives and other threats while infusing Recovery Act funds into the local Orlando economy.”
Secretary Napolitano made the announcement at Orlando International Airport, joined by U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson and Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Vice Chair Jacqueline Bradley. During the past month, Secretary Napolitano has announced a total of $47 million in ARRA funding for explosive detection system projects at San Francisco International, Philadelphia International and Jackson Hole Airports.
Once construction is completed, MCO’s main terminal will feature 100 percent inline screening with a total of five operational inline systems, greatly improving airport efficiency by replacing the 34 standalone screening machines currently in use. The new technology will also improve workplace safety for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees by automating the baggage screening process, eliminate the need for passengers to walk checked baggage to a screening location and wait before proceeding to the security checkpoint incorporate enhanced explosive detection technology to provide on-screen viewing capabilities for TSA officers conducting baggage screenings and reduce the number of re-scans and physical bag searches.
In awarding ARRA funds, DHS prioritizes shovel-ready projects that infuse resources into local economies quickly while meeting critical security needs. DHS has obligated nearly 20 percent of its ARRA funds to date, and is on track to obligate more than 50 percent by the end of September 2009.
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 explosives detection technology.
To learn more about the DHS Recovery Act projects, visit www.dhs.gov/recovery.