Long security lines expected at DIA over Memorial Day weekend

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DENVER -- Officials at Denver International Airport are warning travelers to be prepared to deal with the possibility of longer security lines during the Memorial Day weekend.

But Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner believes he might have a solution to tackle the problem and is getting ready to introduce a measure just before the start of the busy travel season when millions are expected to take to the air.

The cutbacks at the Transportation Security Administration have caused thousands of travelers to miss their flights across the country. Gardner said air travel has increased 9 percent, yet the number of TSA security screeners has dropped at the same time.

He introduced a bill called the Screen Fast Act. It would create two pilot programs: One to develop prototypes for new techniques for screening and the other to make it easier for airports to work with TSA to acquire that new equipment.

The measure would also allow more private security contractors to be hired by airports to assist TSA. That program has been in use at some airports with great success.

The programs would be funded through TSA resources and airport reimbursements.

Meanwhile, DIA is adding seven additional security staff to help move bins and manage those long lines for the summer.

At Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, new technology has been added at one of its security checkpoints. Delta Air Lines and the TSA are testing the equipment for moving carry-on bags along conveyor belts at two lanes.

It would a avoid single-file security line because five people can drop off bags at the same time. The bins then go onto a conveyor belt that takes a picture and moves them through an X-ray.

Bins are matched with radio-frequency identification tags and bar codes. After the traveler gets their bags, the bins return to the start of the checkpoint without staffers having to walk them around.

The technology has been used in London and Amsterdam for years.