Voluntary TWIC test set for 40 sites nationwide

| 8/18/2004

Truckers and other transportation workers will be asked to voluntarily participate later this year in a test of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a universal transportation worker ID proposed by the Transportation Security Administration.

The so-called “Prototype Phase” will begin in mid- to late November, Darrin Kayser, a spokesman for TSA, told Land Line. It will run seven months at more than 40 sites in six states and involve about 150,000 workers. Those sites include Camden, NJ, Islip, NY, Wilmington, DE, Philadelphia, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and 14 port facilities in Florida.

Participation in the test is voluntary and will include truckers, longshoremen, container terminal personnel and airport personnel, TSA officials said.

The new ID card – called a TWIC – verifies workers’ identities and ties each worker to a background check. Each card also contains a biometric identifier – such as a fingerprint or a retina scan – to positively authenticate the identity of the holder.

TSA awarded a $12 million contract to BearingPoint Inc. to conduct the test, which is the third phase of the program to improve security at seaports, airports, rail, pipeline, trucking and mass transit facilities.

The agency said BearingPoint would provide guidance to TSA in enrollment processing and integrating with the access control systems now in place in various transportation facilities. The company will also help the agency detail the results of the test and list the steps necessary for a national roll-out of the program.

Those truckers who choose not to take part will not be penalized in any way, Kayser said.

“They’re going to see the same process they’ve always seen to get into the secure areas,” he said. “Basically, they will also have this card for the volunteers who sign up for the program. People who do not volunteer will use their old cards to get into the secure area.

Earlier this year, Florida and the TSA unveiled a joint project to develop a single statewide security identification card for transportation workers in that state – including truckers – who require unescorted access to secure areas of Florida’s 12 operating seaports.

The cards were also tested in late 2003 in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.