Travel Industry Gets Major Cash in New Budget

In his proposed budget for 2011, President Obama has requested funding several major travel-related projects, including airport security and airport operations.

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) proposed budget calls for 1,000 whole-body imaging scanners, to be deployed in airports across the country.

Specifically, the proposal requests "$734 million to support the deployment of up to 1,000 new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening machines at airport checkpoints and new explosive detection equipment for baggage screening in 2011. AIT machines allow security officers to detect both metallic and non-metallic anomalies, such as weapons and explosives on persons entering an airport’s sterile area."

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In addition to body scanners, the budget requests "additional funding ... for the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). This funding will allow the FAMS to increase the number of international flights covered by FAMS to defend against attempted attacks on aviation."

The Department of Transportation's (DOT) budget "provides $1.14 billion, more than a 30 percent increase from 2010 for the Next Generation Air Transportation System. NextGen is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) long-term effort to improve the efficiency, safety, and capacity of the aviation system. The 2011 Budget supports the transformation from a national ground-based radar surveillance system to a more accurate satellite-based surveillance system; the development of more efficient routes through the airspace; and the improvement of aviation weather information."

High-speed rail also gets some love: "Building on the historic $8 billion down payment provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the President’s Budget includes $1 billion for high-speed rail. The 2011 request supports the President’s five year, $5 billion pledge in the 2010 Budget."

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