TSA: More security, budget cuts partly to blame for long lines

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Transportation Security Administration says that increased security, a surge in passengers and budget cuts are to blame for longer wait lines at the airport.

“There’s been cuts and we’ve been asked to cut continuously year over year since basically the last four years,” Mark Howell TSA Regional Spokesperson said.

Those cuts have left the TSA under staffed.

“TSA has about 5,600 less staffers than we had four years ago,” Howell said.

Howell told News 2 they are doing all they can to tackle the wait problem.

“We are working on getting more out to the field and that’s an inclusion of getting more folks through training, using K-9 units to kind of help expedite passengers through the que and flexing overtime hours as well,” he explained.

Travel is also up seven percent nationwide in addition to the increased number of travelers in Music City.

“We have seen year over year increases of 10 percent here in Nashville,” Howell said.

Howell said they are also in a peek travel season with spring break and the summer rush is just around the corner.

“We understand wait times are growing, but we ask that folks be patient with us because the bottom line is we are trying to keep everyone safe. It’s a security thing,” Howell said.

Travelers can help with the wait time by making sure they haven’t packed anything that’s prohibited.

“Our big ask to folks, and the way they can help us kind of minimize the wait, is to do a quick five minute bag check and make sure they don’t have those items in there,” he said.

The TSA also ask that travelers arrive to the airport at least two hours early so that you make your flight on time.

Howell added they are trying to ramp staff back up.

The TSA asked for funding for 300 more screeners during a hearing last week.

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