DHS releases short-list of airports to get stimulus money

The Department of Homeland Security sent letters to 17 airports Thursday, telling them they're in the running to get a piece of $1 billion in aviation security money in the 2009 stimulus package (PL 111-5).

The department plans to use $700 million of the money to improve their systems for checking baggage and $300 million for explosive-detection equipment, including X-ray machines, whole-body scanners, and systems that look for liquid threats in carry-on bags.

In a news release, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the stimulus money "a great opportunity" to speed up baggage screening, "improving security and convenience at some of our nation's busiest airports as well as supporting President Obama's plan to stimulate the economy."

The projects are expected to create more than 3,000 jobs, Napolitano said.

Airports must submit project plans to the Transportation Security Administration for approval, after which DHS will select the finalists. The department plans to begin disbursing the funds as early as spring.

The following 17 airports were told they are on the short-list for the money:

- Anchorage, Alaska

- Atlanta

- Columbus, Ohio

- Dayton, Ohio

- Honolulu

- Huntsville, Ala.

- Jackson Hole, Wyo.

- Maui, Hawaii

- New Orleans

- Orange County, Calif.

- Orlando, Fla.

- Philadelphia

- Portland, Maine

- Sacramento, Calif.

- San Francisco

- San Jose, Calif.

- Tallahassee, Fla.

For more information on DHS's stimulus projects, visit its Web site.

Source: CQ Homeland Security ©2009 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All Rights Reserved.