October 1, 2001

Mayors Seek to Enhance Airport Security
Task Force Led by L.A. Mayor James Hahn Releases Recommendations

Los Angeles -- Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn today chaired the first meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Airport Security, which discussed needed airport security enhancements, including the federalization of passenger, baggage, and cargo security screening at all U.S. airports.

Mayors' Principles for Improvements in Airport Security and Economic Viability

1. Fully Federalized Force at Points of Passenger, Baggage and Cargo Inspections

  • Separate federal entity to supervise federal personnel, including personnel rules that reflect the need for the highest levels of security and performance, set uniform security standards for all airports and manage the financing of federalized airport security screening and related functions.
  • Governing board of entity should be comprised of key federal agencies, airline representatives, security experts and Mayors with direct supervision and control over airports (with few exceptions, Mayors are often responsible for the direct management and ownership for most of the nation's airports).
  • Initial funding provided from general revenues (i.e. portion of emergency security funding bill), phasing into user-funded trust fund to finance annualized costs of federalized system.
  • Funding assurances (i.e. budget firewalls) and funding commitments sufficient to fully staff these functions to minimize delays and facilitate through-put, as contrasted to other federally-directed functions like INS and Customs where inadequate funding for personnel and other accounts have added to system congestion and inefficiencies.

    2. Provide Airports with Immediate Funding to Pay for Increased Security

  • Airports should be provided with federal reimbursement for the additional costs of security measures mandated by the FAA on September 12, with reimbursement covering both already accrued and ongoing compliance costs.

    3. Federal Assistance and Guarantees to Ensure Airport Financial Stability

  • Provide temporary flexibility in the use of Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) and FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds. This change would provide airports with more flexibility on the temporary use of PFC and AIP funds for additional security costs, a currently prohibited use, and also allow the temporary use of these fund sources to keep current on outstanding debt obligations, if necessary. However, this change should not be a substitute for additional federal funds as mentioned in #2 above. In the long run, it is vital that PFC and AIP funds be reserved for necessary airport capital improvements.
  • Ensure that airlines continue paying landing fees and airport rents, funding sources that are crucial to maintaining the financial integrity of the nation's airports, with more than $70 billion of cumulative outstanding debt as well as billions more in planned new issues to finance airport expansion plans affected by the current instability of the nation's airlines and airports.
  • Reinforce confidence in airport bonds, particularly in light of disturbing actions such as Standard & Poor's recent decision to place all of its North American airports on its CreditWatch. It is necessary to act on the proposals contained herein and other reforms to ensure the financial stability of the nation's airports.
  • Seek FAA flexibility regarding new controls affecting airport facilities such as parking structures and non-ticketed passenger access to terminals, given the financial and others effects upon airport revenues and operations due to the uniform application of new federal security standards.

    4. Provide Airline Workforce Protection and Affected Business Relief

  • Airline workers as well as those impacted directly by declining air travel should be extended targeted benefits, including unemployment benefits and other income support assistance as well as specialized training, offering airline-related employees the opportunity to serve as workers in a federalized system of airport security screening.
  • Affected businesses, particularly on-airport businesses, should be extended special targeted relief, such as federal assistance in the form of loan assistance, payment assistance to keep current on airport rents, lease payments and other fixed monthly costs, and special tax relief to provide support through this period of reduced air travel.

    5. Support for Airside Improvements

  • Expand the air marshal program, as now proposed in pending Administration and Congressional initiatives, moving toward a system where these costs along with the costs of a federalized screening system are funding by a dedicated federal user fee, excise tax or other revenue sources.
  • Support for interim funding for the retrofit of cockpit doors and other improvements that are needed to fortify existing aircraft now in service.
  • Strengthen security regarding the access to aircraft and other airside operations in secure areas of the airport, an issue that is also of critical importance.

    6. Impose Airspace Restrictions and Heightened Security on All General Aviation and Charter Flights Throughout the U.S.

  • Security procedures and requirements for general aviation, including both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, should be as stringent as they are for commercial aviation. Airspace restrictions should be tightened in and around commercial business districts, sports arenas and other populated areas.

    7. Reopen Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Promptly

  • Resume full operations at National Airport as early as possible, with the continuing closure further threatening the financial stability of the nation's airline industry, particularly impacting upon the economies of the Capitol region and other key East Coast markets.

    Adopted by The United States Conference of Mayors Task Force on Airport Security, October 1, 2001.

  • "We look forward to working with federal leaders to ensure the safety of our skies through stronger security measures and to encourage Americans to start flying again," said Mayor Hahn. "Mayors are also asking the federal government to work with us to increase funding for federalized airport security measures to help protect the American public."

    The task force, comprised of 24 Mayors from across the country, adopted a set of principles to promote federal airport and aircraft safety improvements and the economic stability of airports. The recommendations will be distributed to President George W. Bush and members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate tomorrow as they consider airport and aircraft security legislation. The recommendations include -

    • Provide fully federalized security force at points of passenger, baggage and cargo inspections;
    • Provide airports with immediate funding for increased security;
    • Provide federal assistance and guarantees to ensure airport financial stability;
    • Provide airline workforce protection and affected business relief;
    • Support for airside improvements;
    • Impose airspace restrictions and heightened security on all general aviation and charter flights throughout the U.S.; and
    • Reopen Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport promptly.

    "These recommendations chart a course to increased security and stability for our airports, which are essential to the economic health of America," said New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who appointed the task force.

    The members of the task force are Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn (Chairman), New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr, Hempstead (NY) Mayor James Garner, Houston Mayor Lee Brown, Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, Laredo Mayor Elizabeth Flores, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory, Metro-Dade (FL) Mayor Alex Peneles, Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, Philadelphia Mayor John Street, Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Belton, Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Newark Mayor Sharpe James, Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

    The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,200 such cities in the country today.

    Contact: Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766 / (202) 744-3117


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