Behind the scenes: Checked baggage inspection at RSW
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Southwest Florida International Airport shouldered unanticipated security expenses for the new terminal it was planning
Now it’s about to get some of that money back.
The office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio reports:
Southwest Florida International will get $4,061,698 for explosives detection systems (EDS) it purchased and had installed for the passenger terminal it opened in September 2005.
EDS units are automated systems that scan checked baggage and analyze the contents to determine whether explosive threats might be present. The automated systems streamlined the checked baggage screening process at airports nationwide.
Other airports in line for similar Transportation Security Administration reimbursements include Jacksonville International Airport ($3,755,283), Orlando International Airport ($6,424,974), Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport ($103,545) and Tampa International Airport ($15,912,581).
“This money is long overdue for Florida airports that have waited nearly two decades to be reimbursed for these security investments,” the release quotes Rubio.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he helped secure money in the 2018 omnibus spending bill to launch the reimbursement process.
Fort Myers airport spokeswoman Victoria Moreland explained the promised money “partially reimburses us for the inline automated outbound baggage handling system we built as part of the Midfield Terminal Complex.”
RSW was the sixth airport in the country to install such a system after 9/11, Moreland said, adding: “We are very grateful for Senator Rubio’s efforts in securing this funding.”
Once the money is received, it will be deposited into the airport’s construction accounts to be used for capital development projects, Moreland said.
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