Republican Representative for Florida’s 7th District, Jon Mica made the comments last week during a session of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for which he is the chairman. Mica’s comments came after hearing that many if not most ports have not yet received card scanners, making the Transportation Worker Identification Credential essentially useless.
The Transportation Security Administration, which declined an offer to attend the session, has come under scrutiny recently for spending more than $420,000,000 on TWIC. It is estimated that private industry has spent more than $3 billion on the infrastructure for the card. TWIC was heavily marketed to motor carriers ensuring speedier entry into ports and as of this year more than 300,000 drivers have shelled out the $132.50 for the card. At this point, to many of those drivers, the card seems little more than a boondoggle. Mica has pledged to continue to put pressure on the TSA to explain the delays and expenses that have plagued TWIC.
TWIC was launched in 2007 and was billed as a universal biometric ID card. The idea was that ports and warehouses would have access to information about the drivers who work around their facilitates. The cards include fingerprint information and proof of the driver’s legal residency. Increasingly, throughout the industry, TWIC is being seen as more of a boondoggle rather than anything that would actually increase port security.