TWIC is still useless and a big waste of money

Last week, the federal government wasted more time and taxpayer money on the Transportation Worker Identification (TWIC) program. As WorkBoat has been saying for years, the TWIC card is basically useless, especially for the brownwater industry.

And as Pam Glass reported last week, lawmakers questioned federal officials about problems with the TWIC program, but received few if any substantive answers. Wow, that’s a surprise.

Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, reportedly was extremely disturbed when a DHS representative repeatedly deferred questions about the approval timeline for overdue TWIC readers to the Transportation Security Administration, which declined to send an official to the hearing.

“We can’t get TSA to come and talk to us,” Mica said after resuming the hearing. “Doesn’t that destroy your faith? And they send a witness that is so unprepared … It’s appalling that this goes on and on and we’re spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Gee, we have been saying that for over a decade.

Since its inception in 2002, we have documented numerous problems that have plagued the TWIC program, and an investigation by the General Accountability Office last year uncovered serious weaknesses with it. Mica sounded like he had been reading WorkBoat when he said that the federal government has bungled the process of implementing the TWIC program.

“I cannot think of too many programs in government that have had more delays, more costs to taxpayers and more incidents of failing to perform,” the congressman said. That’s a big ditto.

Mariners have told us that TSA still doesn’t always accept the card as ID at airports, even though it is a TSA-produced ID! Incredible.

Instead of wasting any more time on hearings and trying to implement useless and costly TWIC card readers, again, let’s just scrap the whole TWIC program.

About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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