Proposed rules for TWIC program finally published

| Monday, May 22, 2006

The proposed rulemaking containing details of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program was published in the Federal Register on Monday, May 22. It includes details on TWIC fees and deadlines, which will affect truckers at ports.

Any workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels will be required to have a TWIC card, including truckers, longshoremen, port operator employees and rail workers.

Portions of the proposed rulemaking had previously been released, but the full proposal contains some details that are different from those that had already been made public.

The initial press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security in early May said the fee would be $105 for workers with current, compatible background checks – such as hazmat endorsements – and $139 for everyone else.

However, the actual proposed rule states that fees are expected to range from $95 for workers such as hazmat haulers who already have current and valid background checks to $149 for all other applicants.

The proposed rule details the rollout of the program and states that the Transportation Security Administration would install 125 enrollment locations, which would serve about 300 ports.

The proposal states that “TSA will work closely with the maritime industry to ensure that owners/operators and workers are given as much notice as possible when a definitive enrollment schedule is selected.” When the actual dates are decided, they will be announced in the Federal Register

The rule states that the ports will be divided into three groups based on their level of security threat and other factors. While no ports have been assigned to any group yet, the start dates for each group are as follows, with Group 1 being the most critical in terms of security:

  • Group 1 – not later than 10 months after the effective date of the final rule.
  • Group 2 – not later than 15 months after the effective date of the final rule.
  • Group 3 – not later than 18 months after the effective date of the final rule.

TSA estimates it will take a total of five years for total enrollment in the TWIC program, which is expected to register almost 1.17 million workers.

The proposed rule is now in a 45-day public comment period. Comments may be made anonymously by anyone.

Comments can be made online at dms.dot.gov using TSA docket number TSA-2006-24191.

Comments can be mailed to:

Docket Management Facility
U.S. DOT, Room Plaza 401
400 Seventh Street SW
Washington, DC 20590-0001

Comments can be faxed to (202) 493-2251.

For faxed and mailed comments, be sure to include the docket number TSA-2006-24191.

There will also be four public meetings before the 45-day comment deadline is up. The dates and locations are as follows:

  • Wednesday, May 31, in Newark, NJ;
  • Thursday, June 1, in Tampa, FL;
  • Wednesday, June 6, in St. Louis, MO; and
  • Thursday, June 7, in Long Beach, CA.

– By Terry Scruton, senior writer
terry_scruton@landlinemag.com

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