Chicago airports will get more hundreds more Transportation Security Administration officers and canine teams this summer, in an effort to shorten security checkpoint lines, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday.
"The TSA wait times at Chicago's airports have been unacceptable," Emanuel said.
After speaking with TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Emanuel announced:
•100 TSA screeners will shift from part- to full-time, to help during peak hours. An extra 58 TSA officers will be assigned to the airports within three weeks and another 250 will arrive by mid-August.
•Authorized overtime for TSA officers will triple.
"The resources we have secured are an important step in providing relief for the traveling public, as well as ensuring the safety and security of our passengers," Emanuel said.
The announcement came the same day that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. called for Neffenger to resign if he can’t shorten hours-long airport checkpoint lines by Memorial Day.
“The flying public is experiencing a high security risk and economic burden from unnecessary wait times and missed flights due to insufficient staffing at TSA,” Kirk said.
Problems with long lines aren't limited to Chicago. Members of the New Jersey delegation also wrote TSA Tuesday asking for an explanation about TSA's strategy at Newark airport, where waits are routinely longer than an hour. The letter was signed by Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Democratic Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Donald Norcross, Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne and Albio Sires, and Republican Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Scott Garrett, Leonard Lance.
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