TSA raises transportation worker ID card fee

Most maritime workers will pay at least $139 for their initial Transportation Workers Identification Credential card and $60 for a replacement card as part of the Homeland Security Department's just-released final rule for the program.

The price of the initial credential rose by $10, while the price of the replacement card increased by 67 percent, from $36, in comparison to the figures quoted in a notice of proposed rulemaking in May 2006.

Some workers will pay a reduced fee, totaling from $107 to $127, if the department determines that they already have complied with certain requirements through other programs.

The Transportation Security Administration is inviting public comments on some of the fees.

The 469-page final rule applies to implementation of the biometric identification cards in the maritime sector. It makes a number of changes in fees, compliance dates, definitions of what and who is covered under the rule and other parts of the program.

It pushes the compliance dates forward to about 20 months from now, while the notice of May 2006 stated compliance would be required within one to 18 months.

The TWIC program eventually would have millions of port, airline, truck and transport workers being issued the credential after undergoing a threat assessment. The workers would display the credential to enter secure areas. It has been in development since 2003, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff put it on the fast track in early 2006.

The fees have been raised because costs have increased, primarily to reflect increased costs for the identification management system associated with the cards and for card production, the final rule states.

The total cost of the TWIC identity management system has risen 135 percent over five years, to $44 million, and the cost of card production has risen by 39 percent, to $28 million, the notice said. At the same time, costs for threat assessments decreased. With an enrollment and issuance cost of $66 million, total costs have risen 12 percent, to $189.4 million.

The fee for the TWIC card for enrollees will be $139 to $159, up by $10 from previous estimates of $129 to $149. The fee for replacement cards will be $60, up from $36, the department stated.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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