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Government Update Although the GAO report glosses over this point, Congress has failed, throughout the life of this program, to provide the funding necessary to accomplish the mission. report points out, there is a significant risk that hasty issuance of the TWIC cards while the card readers are still under development with lead to incompatibility. In other words, the TWIC cards won't work in the readers. The cards will then have to be reissued. [In recognition of this potential, Congress recently decreed that workers can't be charged for the cost of issuance of new replacement cards.] A key component of the TWIC program is the ability to quickly revoke a worker's unescorted access privileges if either the individual is identified as a security threat or the TWIC card is lost Through fiscal year 2006, only $89.7 million has been provided (and $10 million of that came by reprogramming from other DHS accounts). or stolen. During prototype testing, the contractor experienced difficulty in connecting local access control systems to the national TWIC database. As a result, the connection process was not tested at any of the 28 participating facilities. The TSA has reassured the GAO, though, that this component has been tested in a laboratory. The TSA then said that it was unable to provide the GAO with any reports from the laboratory. Why am I increasingly uneasy? The cost of the TWIC program is a significant concern. The TSA has gone well over budget to date, in large part due to efforts made to accelerate the project. The agency estimates the cost to industry to be $800 million (with a major portion to be spent the first year in start-up costs). It estimates that, on average, a maritime facility will spend $90,000 to upgrade or install access control systems, including biometric card readers. Port officials believe otherwise, estimating costs to be closer to $300,000 per terminal. The TSA declined to provide additional information on how it developed its cost estimates. Concerns have been expressed within the maritime industry over the significant delay between submitting an application for a TWIC card and the actual receipt and activation of the card allowing the individual to commence work. The proposed rule indicated that it should take up to 60 days for a card to be Product of choice for professional welders. Trust AlcoTec for top-quality aluminum welding wire. Environmentally friendly packaging designed to maximize product stability and quality AlumaPak 300-lb. drum and 50-lb. AlumaPak Mini provide continuous twist-free wire for ease of use and consistent quality welds The World Leader In Real Time Marine Information Systems AlcoTec Wire Corporation a subsidiary of ESAB Welding and Cutting Products is the world's largest producer of aluminum welding wire and the only single source for all the aluminum alloys currently registered for aluminum welding applications. Our state-of-the-art drawing and spooling equipment, combined with proprietary processes, ensure the best dimensional, mechanical and metallurgical control in the industry. The result is wire with precise diameter, cast, helix and sliding friction controls for exceptional feedability and lot-to-lot consistency. For your next aluminum welding job, ask for AlcoTec by name. 1.800.228.0750 www.alcotec.com ® Wouldn't it be great to reduce your fuel costs for a change. It's time you met MICAD Marine. Our exclusive Fuel Management Tool is the most accurate way to measure your fuel efficiency. To learn how the MICAD Marine System can cut your fuel expenses by up to 20%, visit www.micadmarine.com and download our User's Guide to Reducing Fuel Costs. Say "Bon Voyage" to rising fuel costs and "Welcome Aboard" to MICAD Marine. www.micadmarine.com Great things happen when you put us to work. Toll Free: 866 779 7779 · Outside the USA: +1 714 899 1006 28 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News