U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is supporting the Port of Pasco’s $3.8 million request to upgrade the baggage screening system at Tri-Cities Airport.
Cantwell sent a letter Tuesday to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Transportation Security Administration acting Administrator Melvin Carraway saying the airport’s current $41.5 million renovation is the best time to install an inline explosives detection baggage screening system.
“The Tri-Cities Airport is a major regional transportation asset in the state of Washington serving more than 1 million residents living in communities in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon,” wrote Cantwell, ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation, Operations and Security. “This airport is the gateway to the Tri-Cities region, is a key contributor to the economic vitality of the region, and provides direct air service to eight major airport hubs throughout the U.S.”
The expansion will double the size of the airport’s terminal and modernize its ticketing and baggage areas.
Carraway told Cantwell at a hearing Tuesday that the TSA considers grant applications from both small and large commercial airports.
“Typically we want to make sure that the planning up front is fully done and in many cases there happens to be many changes that occur,” Carraway said. “We are constantly engaged with FAA on any changes that occur and we keep in mind our budget in regards to that.”