Enrollment for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program continues to roll out at ports throughout the nation, and is scheduled to begin at six additional ports on Thursday, May 29.
The TWIC program will require more than 1.5 million port employees, longshoremen, mariners, truckers and others who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports to have background checks before being issued cards with their biometric data and residency documentation.
TWIC enrollment is scheduled to begin Thursday at ports in Benicia, CA; Greenville, MS; Marquette, MI; New Haven, CT; Paducah, KY; and Paulsboro, NJ. Enrollment is set to begin at Valdez, AK, on June 4, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on June 5, and Coos Bay, OR, on June 11.
Enrollment in the TWIC program has been steady but relatively low, according to government officials.
As of May 23, the Transportation Security Administration reported that 309,472 workers had enrolled in the TWIC program. TSA’s last estimate for the total number of workers who need to enroll was 1.5 million.
Nationally, TWIC cards will be required for truckers and other port workers who need unescorted access into secure areas by April 15, 2009, although New England ports plan to require TWIC cards by Oct. 15 this year.
Eventually, TWIC cards could be an accepted standard for truckers to get into warehouses and trucking yards inland.
Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50, although workers with “current, comparable” threat assessment background checks such as hazmat endorsement, Merchant Mariner document, or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card 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 Web site at www.tsa.gov/twic.
The TWIC program has been ridiculed by politicians for missing repeated implementation deadlines and running up costs of more than $100 million, according to the Government Accountability Office.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer