Klobuchar, Smith call for TSA staffing increase as lines swell at MSP

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The long security lines at MSP Airport are frustrating more than just passengers.

Wednesday, both of Minnesota’s U.S. Senators called on the TSA to increase the number of screeners at the airport.

The security line at the north end of the Lindberg Terminal stretched halfway through the ticketing area again Wednesday, but the airport says it was moving much faster and more organized than Monday.

That’s when the airport changed up security checkpoints to accommodate the ongoing renovation project in the terminal.

It was taking about 20-30 minutes to get through the line during the noon hour.

Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith said this is all happening as the number of travelers using the airport is outpacing the number of TSA screeners.

Klobuchar said, from 2012 to 2017, the number of screeners at the airport dropped while passengers rose.

They are, once again, calling on the TSA to add a larger staff.

“But at some point, when the numbers keep going up and the help from Washington keeps going down, there is only so much more efficiency you can squeeze out of it and the people who get screwed are the people that are waiting in line,” Klobuchar said.

“The Transportation Security Administration, TSA officials, said they expect a 4.5 percent increase in airline passengers over the next year, but they have only requested a 2.5 percent staffing increase and that’s just not going to cut it,” Smith added.

MSP’s Executive Director says they have 21 security checkpoints at Terminal One, but there’s only enough TSA staff to operate 16 of them.

Brian Ryks says the TSA uses a formula to arrive at staffing levels and they run it at least twice a year at MSP.

But, MSP is questioning whether the formula adequately addressed the need of the airport.