President Bush signed into law today a bill that hands over many airline security issues to the federal government. Government workers will take charge of passenger and baggage screening operations, reports the Associated Press. The 28,000 privately employed screeners already in place in the nation’s airports will be put on the federal payroll.
Once the law goes into effect, U.S. airports must be under the federal system for three years. Five airports of different sizes will be allowed to apply for pilot programs that experiment with different screening approaches. After the initial three years, airports will have the option of dropping the federal system.
The government will have one year to take over screening operations and place screeners on the federal payroll. Immediate changes include elevated law enforcement at screening posts.
Travelers will help pay for the new security measures by way of a $2.50 security fee charged whenever a passenger boards a plane, maxing out at $5 on a one-way trip.