Lambert gets $42 million for new baggage screening systems
By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio
ST. LOUIS –
Lambert Airport in St. Louis is getting 42-million-dollars in federal funds to improve its baggage screening systems.
The upgrade in both terminals will enable security workers to screen baggage for terrorism threats more quickly and accurately. Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said that passengers will again be able to check their bags at ticket counters, rather than dragging them to x-ray machines, as they've done since 2001.
"These will actually be taken out of the lobby areas and the whole end-line system is to put it down below," Hamm-Niebruegge said. "So the customer no longer has to take their bag and drop it off. It's taken directly by the airline, goes directly into the same belt system and all the screening is done down below."
The new technology is supposed to make it easier for Transportation Security Administration workers to screen luggage for terrorism threats. Senator Claire McCaskill said that the technology is needed for safety and comfort at Lambert.
"These grants are essential to the security of this airport and frankly, they're essential to the ease of flying out of this airport because not only will these grants allow more advanced technology for baggage screening, they will make the process simpler and easier for the traveling public," McCaskill said.
Lambert officials said that the airport will have to come up with $4.5 million of its own money to complete the project. The stimulus and Department of Homeland Security grants announced today are the largest ever for Lambert Airport.