Klobuchar calls for more screeners to relieve long lines at airport

Lines at north security checkpoint
Long waits at security checkpoints have become the new normal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where officials say the ranks of screeners has fallen while the number of travelers is rising.
Leila Navidi | Star Tribune via AP

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the Transportation Security Administration needs to hire more screeners to relieve long lines at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

MSP officials say wait times average 48 minutes — during peak periods, passengers have stood in line for more than an hour.

Klobuchar says the TSA failed to anticipate an increase in the number of travelers, both nationwide and at MSP.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks with reporters at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Sunday.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

She says Congress gave the TSA more money than it requested last year, but the agency still has not hired as many additional screeners as it needs. She says passenger numbers at MSP rose more than 10 percent in the last five years.

"They didn't staff this airport adequately, in my mind. We are now asking them to do that," she said. "We're asking them to hire the people they need to have hired."

The TSA could not be reached for comment. But Klobuchar says TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger plans to visit the Twin Cities in the coming weeks to assess the problem.

Last month, the Twin Cities airport consolidated passenger screening at Terminal 1 into two checkpoints as part of a $17 million overhaul.

Airport officials say passegers should arrive at the airport two hours before their flights depart to ensure adequate time for security screening.

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