March 13, 2012
By Joe Ruble
SANFORD, Fla. —
The airport here is opting out of Transportation Security Administration screening.
CEO Larry Dale of Sanford International Airport already has top security clearance, so he figures he can make passengers as safe as anyone by hiring a private security firm to do the job.
"They do it better and are more cost-effective," he said during a press conference with Cong. John Mica (R) at the airport's Vigilante Room.
It's the second time the airport applied to opt-out. It's application was summarily denied the first time, but since passage of a reform law, the federal agency has to take a serious look at every application that comes in from airports nationwide, according to Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Mica's goal is to cut a bureaucratic agency with 65,000 employees, including almost 10,000 field managers earning six figure salaries on average.
"The agency is too focused on personnel management on a massive scale, and not on setting the most effective security standards and analyzing intelligence," he said.
Dale said he will pick a security firm once his application to TSA is approved and the airport can advertise for bids. He could not say what kind of cost savings would be passed to passengers.
Most travelers who spoke with WDBO on Tuesday agreed that a private firm could likely do a better job. "The problem with government is, they know how to mess it up," said one man who was picking up his wife on a flight from North Carolina.
"I think privatizing everything is a good idea. I think the government should get out of everything," said another.