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TWIC reader rule coming in February

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The Coast Guard will in February unveil a proposal for requirements for electronic Transportation Worker Identification Credential card readers, according to a regulatory update published as part of an overview of upcoming federal actions.

Although the Transportation Security Administration has since 2007 required port and ship workers to carry TWIC cards, the federal rule regarding electronic card readers has been slow in coming--meaning the cards have mainly been used as expensive flash passes. A Coast Guard official estimated in March 2012 that full implementation of card readers will require 2 years after finalization of the regulation regarding their use.

The regulatory update says the Coast Guard is still developing cost impact estimates of an electronic reader regulation and notes that the main cost drivers are the acquisition and installation of TWIC readers plus their ongoing maintenance.

A 2009 advance notice of proposed rulemaking on TWIC readers said implementation would take a risk-based approach based on classification of vessels and ports into one of three risk classifications that take into account the consequences of a transportation security incident.

The TWIC program is a requirement under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. A November 2012 report from Republican members of the House Homeland Security and Oversight and Government Reform committees said TWIC has already cost $500 million and could total $3.2 billion over a decade. The program "has been crippled by latent programmatic weaknesses," a committee report said.

For more:
- read the TWIC regulatory update

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