MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — U.S. Senators from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are urging the TSA to up staffing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Smith and Klobuchar announced Tuesday that they had sent a letter to TSA acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell expressing concerns about increased wait times at the airport’s security checkpoints. Smith and Klobuchar urged Cogswell to reevaluate TSA’s authorized staffing to address the issue.
The senators also raised concerns about TSA’s plan to cease staffing at and close the airport’s InterContinental Hotel security checkpoint. CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission Brian Ryks also sent a letter to the TSA on Oct. 23 with concerns about the closure.
“We share [Ryks’] concerns regarding inadequate staffing levels at the airport and urge TSA to maintain staff at the checkpoint connecting the hotel,” the letter reads. “We also urge you to meet with the Metropolitan Airports Commission to discuss the negative impact that closing this checkpoint would have on the airport’s operations, including by increasing wait times for passengers.”
In a statement, the MAC also urged the TSA to reconsider closing the checkpoint, citing existing wait times and short staffing.
“The TSA’s plans to close the public hotel checkpoint follow a pattern of temporary and permanent closures of MSP checkpoints, unreliable hours of checkpoint operation and insufficient staffing of open checkpoints by the TSA,” said MAC spokesperson Patrick Hogan in a statement. “The best way to enhance security and reduce security wait times is for the TSA to staff available security lanes, not to close them.“
Klobuchar previously called on the TSA to increase staffing in August. Klobuchar’s office said that while the MAC had made significant improvements to the security checkpoint at Terminal 1, staffing has not kept up with increased traffic.
According to Klobuchar’s office, between 2012 and 2017, passengers had increased 12% while staffing had decreased 9%.