Bush Administration Proposes "Registered Traveler Program"

Bush Administration Proposes "Registered Traveler Program"

Under a newly proposed “registered traveler program,” the federal government may allow select frequent travelers expedited security screening at airports, according to the Associated Press.

The Bush administration will push for limited testing of the program in June, a federal official said. Passengers who volunteer to pay a fee and submit to government background checks, and who are not considered terrorist threats will not be subjected to random follow-up screenings at security checkpoints.

David Stone, acting chief of the Transportation Security Administration, said a 90-day testing period would begin at selected airports, possibly including Boston’s Logan; Washington’s Reagan; Dallas Love Field; McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tenn.; and West Palm Beach Airport in Florida.

“TSA believes in this,” Stone told the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation. “It’s a high priority.”

A TSA spokesman said the agency is discussing the idea with more than 12 major airlines.

Reaction to the plan has been mixed.

Both the Business Travel Coalition and the Air Transport Association have endorsed the idea, though consumer response has yet to be measured.

“I’m not sure there are a lot of business travelers willing to pay to turn over all that information,” said Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the BTC.

The General Accounting Office has raised concerns about the program, citing the lack of clear procedures and consistent application.

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