Syracuse airport exit doors spark controversy

Syracuse airport exit doors spark controversy

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Critics are calling automated exit doors at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport "the official arrival of the police state, according to an NBC News report.

Syracuse Aviation Commissioner Christina Callahan defended the doors in a subsequent interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard, saying they allow officials to keep the terminal more secure.

"It isn't another layer of screening that passengers go through to leave the airport," Callahan said, according to the newspaper.

Callahan said the automatic doors are saving the Syracuse airport money because they do not have to pay to have an officer guard the airport exit lanes.

"We've had inquiries from other airports about how they work," Callahan said. "They're working great." 

The Transportation Security Administration has come under fire for a plan to transfer responsibility for airport exit lanes to the facilities themselves.

Previously, TSA agents manned the lanes passengers pass through on their way to baggage claim areas after flights.

TSA said last month that transferring responsibility for exit lanes was its way of saving money.

"In order to most efficiently use TSA’s limited resources and to focus on the priority of screening passengers and baggage, TSA has proposed transferring exit lane access control responsibility to local airport authorities, reducing the agency’s budget request by $88.1 million for FY 2014," the agency said in a statement that was provided to The Hill in October.

"TSA does not currently fund security staffing at exit lanes at over two-thirds of federalized airports, as it is not a screening function," the TSA statement continued. "This proposal makes staffing responsibility standard across all exit lanes, consistent with airport perimeter access controls, with TSA ensuring compliance through its regulatory inspection program."