May 14, 2020
Dear Senator Sullivan and Senator Sinema:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thank you for introducing “The Registered Traveler Modernization Act of 2020.” This legislation would provide commonsense improvements to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Registered Traveler program and we urge quick enactment of this legislation.
Congress created the Registered Traveler (RT) program in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, to leverage private sector expertise and innovation to improve the safety and security of the air traveling public. Today, the program’s 5 million enrollees – approximately 10 percent of the air traveling public – enjoy less hassle and wait times at the checkpoints of 34 airports due to the security services of RT providers. The RT program is an excellent example of a public private partnership advancing a critical service – all with no cost to the taxpayer, freeing up critical dollars to help advance other aspects of TSA’s mission.
In the wake of the current pandemic, Congressional support for the RT program is more important than ever before. The Registered Traveler Act of 2020 can help airports streamline the traveler experience through touchless technology that minimizes lines and crowding. This is especially important in a post-COVID world where social distancing and screening will likely be the new “normal” for many air travelers. Additionally, the Act would: (1) solidify the authorization for public-private RT partnerships that advance innovation at airport security checkpoints; (2) define TSA’s role in approving and supervising RT programs; and (3) grant RT providers access to technology, information, and procedures to improve security and traveler experience through streamlined identity verification, vetting status authentication, and routing to physical screening at airport security checkpoints.
Prior to the current pandemic, ever-rising volumes of air travelers placed increasing strain on airlines, airports, and security regulators. We fully expect these numbers will return and that TSA will continue to rely on successful public-private partnerships to minimize touch points and crowds, because registered travel providers are positioned to continue to provide touchless experiences at the airport, helping to create a faster and more efficient experience for all travelers.
For these reasons and more, we are grateful for your leadership on this legislation. We offer our strong support for its passage.
Neil L. Bradley