Reid anticipates feds will run security at airports
RENO, Nev. (AP) – Sen. Harry Reid expects the federal government to begin running the metal detectors at airports and take control of baggage check-in to bolster security and help guard against terrorism.
”The decision has not been made yet, but personally I believe the government will take over the baggage claim, the checking of the bags,” said Reid, D-Nev., second-ranking member of the Senate.
”And also, when you go through the metal detectors going to the planes, I think that will be taken over by the government,” he told reporters in a teleconference call Wednesday.
”The present situation is based on the profit-motive and based on that, the airlines get the cheapest help they can get and that is what they get and it hasn’t worked well.”
The nation’s mayors want the federal government to take over airport security as part of any financial aid package crafted for struggling airlines.
The use of federal workers rather than private employees to handle airport security screening and background checks would provide uniformity and higher professional standards, said New Orleans Mayor Marc H. Morial, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
”As high as they are, they need to be higher,” Morial said Wednesday. ”It’s in everyone’s interest to send the strongest message through both our actions and our words that our skies, the airports and the inside of planes are safe.”
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta will consider the mayors’ proposal as he works on his plan for changes in airport security, spokesman Bill Mosley said.
Reid met on Tuesday with executives for America West and National airlines. He said Wednesday that the $24 billion the industry initially requested as a government bailout is ”a little steep.
”It will probably turn out to be about $17 billion,” he said.
”We are going to give them what they need.”
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