Senator Begich Sponsors Transportation Worker Identification Card ReformThanks to efforts of Alaska’s Senator Mark Begich, maritime and transportation workers that are required to hold special identification cards will see the process used to secure the documents simplified. Workers with access to secure marine facilities like oil terminals and cruise ship docks are required to hold a Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC).

Issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), transportation workers have been required to make multiple trips to enrollment offices to secure a card. The process involves a background check, verification of identity, a photograph and payment of a fee. Alaska has a limited number of enrollment centers, often making them hundreds of miles from a resident’s home.

Senator Begich, working with other Senators from coastal states was able to introduce a provision in legislation to establish a pilot program that established a one-stop provision for those seeking a TWIC. This effort will save many Alaskans from making extra trips that can be prohibitively expensive.

Speaking of this effort, Senator Begich said, “In Alaska, workers in the maritime and transportation industries often have to travel hundreds of miles to get to one of the few TWIC enrollment centers. This often involves multiple flights and hotel stays. To have to go through this process twice just to get an ID card is a financial burden and is just unnecessary. If you can get a passport with just one visit, you should be able to get a TWIC with one visit too. I’m glad we could work successfully with our transportation workers to make this process simpler for Alaskans.”

Begich’s amendment is part of the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act that passed the Senate unanimously in December of 2013. The TSA will be testing the one-stop program in Alaska before it is implemented nationally.

Copyright 2013 by Alan Sorum

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