Appearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today, Admiral James M. Loy, director of the Transportation Security Administration, recommitted the agency to customer satisfaction and teamwork among all transportation stakeholders. AOPA Legislative Affairs staff were in the hearing room as Admiral Loy said his goal is to "restore mobility to all Americans...that is an inalienable right." He promised to continue to improve communication with Congress, private industry, agencies, and airports. Senator George Allen (R-Va.) renewed his inquiry regarding a plan to reopen Washington National Airport to general aviation. Loy candidly replied no date has been set nor is a plan agreed upon to reopen the Washington hub to GA. Loy offered to brief the senator privately on the progress of a plan to restore GA to National, rather than disclose sensitive information in the public hearing.
Questions from senators about cargo screening, baggage and passenger screening, TSA hiring practices, and budget figures were the focus of senators attending the hearing today. TSA was complimented for its improvement in communication and cooperation with Congress in the five weeks since Loy's appointment to the agency's helm, though many members remain skeptical TSA will meet the screening deadlines set by last November's aviation security bill.