TSA to Allow Truckers to Extend TWIC Cards by Three Years at Lower Cost Due to Delays
By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the June 25 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Truckers and maritime workers soon will be allowed to extend their expiring Transportation Worker Identification Credential cards by three years at a reduced price because federal officials are facing delays in deploying biometric card readers.
Amid growing pressure from Congress, the Transportation Security Administration announced that beginning Aug. 30, it will allow a three-year extension to TWIC holders whose five-year cards expire on or before Dec. 31, 2014.
TSA will charge $60 for the new biometric credentials, less than half of the normal $129.75 TWIC enrollment fee.
The extension process calls for only one trip, rather than two, to a TWIC enrollment center, and also extends the expiration date of a cardholder’s security threat assessment background check by three years.
TSA said it was offering the extension because cardholders paid a high cost for sophisticated tamper-resistant cards that feature an embedded fingerprint. However, the cards have yet to be widely used because the required readers have not been deployed. The readers are important because they verify that the card holder is the same as the person who was issued the card.
“We’re glad they did the extension,” said Martin Rojas, vice president of security and operations for American Trucking Associations. “But to be honest with you, we are more concerned by the lack of readers than the extension. Even at $60, we continue to pay for a high-end, costly smart card with little actual utility without the readers.”
Spokespeople for TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard did not return requests for comment by press time.
The TWIC program so far has enrolled about 2 million maritime workers, ranging from longshoreman to drayage truck drivers. However, TSA and the Coast Guard, which both operate under the Department of Homeland Security, have already missed an April 2011 congressional mandate to issue the final regulations for the TWIC readers.
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