Lawmaker Sees Tangled Credentialing Web

Lawmaker Sees Tangled Credentialing Web

Congress may tackle an overhaul of the tangled transportation security credentialing system. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of the House Transportation subcommittee on transportation security, said Thursday the existing system was burdened with overlapping requirements.

“It’s silly to have different application processes, different background checks for the same person to have four different IDs,” Rogers said after an oversight hearing where Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole was the sole witness.

Rogers said that the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, commercial driver’s license, the hazardous material endorsement, and the Free and Secure Trade card that’s used for truckers moving goods between the U.S. and Canada have separate requirements, and workers may be forced to carry all four.

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“These credentials all have a separate application process and require separate background checks,” Rogers said. “Stakeholders in the transportation industry continue to express their strong concern to me that we need to address these redundancies.”

Pistole focused on the TWIC. After nearly 2 million cards have been issued, TWIC had not lived up to expectations.

“It’s not where I would like it to be. It’s taken longer than it should, and there have not been the successes I would like to ensure the best safety of ports by those who have access to the most critical areas,” Pistole said. “I want to make some improvements both to timing and rollout. It’s taking too long.”

However, Pistole noted that streamlining credentialing was a task larger than TSA or the Department of Homeland Security since DHS does not regulate all credentials.

Rogers said he was seeking suggestions from the transportation industry for proposed changes in rules.

-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.