TWIC Renewals Looking to be Extended to 2014

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We look at the proposed legislation from US Representative Ben Thompson for extending the 2012 TWIC renewals back to 2014:

The Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) ID was introduced in 2007 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The rationale behind the program was to tighten up security around America's ports and other sensitive facilities to which civilian workers needed regular access. Prior to the attack on New York and Pentagon, truckers did not need anything other than standard forms of ID, such as a drivers' license to gain admittance.

The original intent was that a TWIC ID would be required to gain access and to egress from a port facility. Part of the TWIC application procedure was a threat assessment and background checks, in order to prevent the delivery or removal of material or devices which could form a terrorist threat, or to prevent an actual terrorist attack on a port facility.

The TWIC D is issued for a five year period, and the 2007 issued cards are due for renewal in 2012. This presents some issues with the TWIC program and how effective it has been in operation.

Many drivers have reported that they are rarely required to show their TWIC ID, numerous others have complained that though they are required to present it to port security, in practice it is nothing more than a flash pass which is not checked by port authorities. This calls into question the logic behind having the cards in the first instance, particularly as applying for a card involves a fee of $132.50 (and will need to be paid again upon renewal).

The US Department of Homeland Security has been working on implementing a comprehensive program to integrate the TWIC cards with biometric card readers. There have been substantial delays in developing this program because of technical issues which have yet to be overcome.

US RepresentativeBen Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi has introduced legislation to provide a workaround to the situation and alleviate the cost and administrative burden upon truckers. Under Thompson's bill, all TWIC renewals would be pushed back to 2014, or until the US Department of Homeland Security produces a final card reader rule (card readers are expected to be used to allow WIC holders to gain access and to speed up the verification process at entry and exit).

The bill is currently before the US House Committee on Homeland Security, of which Thompson is a ranking member.

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