TSA says oops – twice as many have to enroll in TWIC

| 2/4/2008

For years, the federal government has estimated that 700,000 to 880,000 truck drivers and port workers need to enroll in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.

They were right; however, they missed an additional 750,000 workers.

On Jan. 23, Maurine Fanguy, TSA’s TWIC program director and Judith Marks, representing TWIC contractor Lockheed Martin, admitted the math error to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coastguard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.

The error is the latest in a series of gaffes for the program charged with protecting U.S. ports from terrorism. The program has missed several deadlines set by Congress and has been criticized by the Government Accountability Office.

Hundreds of ports throughout the nation will require TWIC for unescorted access into areas the individual port defines as “secure.” TWIC will also be required at inland ports at cities such as St. Louis, MO; Louisville, KY; and Cincinnati, OH.

Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50, although workers with “current, comparable” threat assessment background checks such as HAZMAT, Merchant Mariner Document or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) may obtain a TWIC card for $105.25. The card is designed to last five years.

Replacement cards for those who lose or damage their TWIC card cost $60, according to the TWIC website at www.tsa.gov/twic.

Enrollment continues to roll out at ports throughout the nation. Enrollment opened at the Port of Miami on Jan. 31, begins on Feb. 6 at Louisville, KY, and comes to Nashville, TN, on Feb. 8.

TWIC cards won't be mandatory until enrollment has been open at most ports for several months, TSA officials have stated. There is also a U.S. Coast Guard-required 90 days notification before enforcement will begin.

For more information about TWIC enrollment, go to: http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/twic/index.shtm.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer