12.17.09 | Cantor, Scott, Forbes to TSA: Pay Richmond Airport Back

December 17, 2009
Press Release

RICHMOND, VA - Congressmen Eric Cantor (VA-07), Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03), and J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), sent a letter yesterday to Gale D. Rossides, Acting Assistant Secretary, Transportation Security Administration, requesting reimbursement to the Capitol Region Airport Commission for the installation of the TSA's explosive detection system at the Richmond International Airport (RIC).  In addition, the Congressmen are asking to be briefed by the TSA on the status of its reimbursement program and timeframe for paying back RIC.  This is not the first request made to the TSA requesting reimbursement by members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation.

Cantor and Scott made the following comments: 

"The Richmond International Airport plays a vital role to the Greater Richmond economy," said Cantor.  "RIC took it on good faith that the TSA would be true to their word and reimburse RIC for their investment in a state-of-the-art baggage security system.  Five years later, that pledge has not been met.  It's time that the TSA pay back Richmond Airport." 

"Richmond International is long overdue for a reimbursement from the TSA for federally mandated improvements the airport incorporated in its improvement plans.  Congress has authorized the TSA to provide this reimbursement.  I will continue to work with my colleagues that represent the Richmond area in Congress to ensure that Richmond International finally gets this reimbursement," concluded Scott.   

Full letter is below.  Please click here for a PDF copy

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 December 16, 2009

  

The Honorable Gale D. Rossides
Acting Assistant Secretary
Transportation Security Administration
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Assistant Secretary Rossides:

We are writing to urge the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reimburse the Capital Region Airport Commission for the installation of the TSA's explosive detection system (EDS) at the Richmond International Airport.

In 2004, the Richmond International Airport was planning to rebuild its terminal, including the baggage system.  We understand that the TSA asked Richmond to construct the TSA's in-line explosive detection system while the airport was reconstructing the baggage system.  Although the TSA did not have funds available at the time, it advised Jon Mathiasen, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Region Airport Commission, that the TSA would include the airport's funding request in future budget deliberations.  The Richmond Airport agreed to cooperate with the TSA, built the TSA's system, and completed the work in 2007, more than two years ago.

Despite the Richmond Airport's repeated requests, the TSA has still not provided reimbursement.  In an October 5, 2007 letter to Mr. Jon Mathiasen, the TSA stated that it would establish a timeframe for its reimbursement program in early Fiscal Year 2008.  The TSA did not do this.  In a May 7, 2008 letter to Mr. Mathiasen, the TSA stated that it planned to establish a timeframe in Fiscal Year 2009.  In an October 15, 2008 letter to Jon Mathiasen, the TSA stated that it was "actively working" on a reimbursement program.  Fiscal Year 2009 has ended, yet the TSA has neither reimbursed the Richmond Airport nor advised the Richmond Airport of when it will be reimbursed.

As the TSA has acknowledged, the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 gave the TSA the authority to reimburse the Richmond Airport.  During the past several years, Congress has provided the TSA substantial funding for EDS installation work.  Thus, the TSA has had both the authority and the funding to reimburse Richmond.

The Richmond Airport worked in partnership with the TSA to support the TSA's baggage screening program and the TSA has benefitted from the airport's efforts for more than two years without paying for Richmond's work.  We urge the TSA to resolve this matter by reimbursing the Richmond Airport without further delay.  We also request a briefing from the TSA on the status of its reimbursement program and the timeframe for reimbursing the Richmond International Airport. 

We appreciate a prompt response to this request.  Thank you.

                                                Sincerely,

/S/                    

Eric Cantor (VA-07)
Member of Congress

 /S/

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03)
Member of Congress

 /S/

Randy Forbes (VA-04)
Member of Congress