U.S. Senator Susan Collins today announced Portland International Jetport (PWM) is eligible to receive a share of $1 billion for explosive detection projects to be distributed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Senator Collins worked with a bipartisan group of senators to craft the legislation that became law earlier in the month.

PWM is one of 17 airports that TSA has deemed eligible to receive the funding. If approved, PWM would use the funding to obtain a baggage explosives detection system estimated to cost $13.5 million. Each of the eligible airports will be required to provide additional information on their explosive detection projects in order for TSA to determine readiness and final cost estimates. TSA will then decide how much funding the airports will receive. The baggage explosives detection system is part of PWM’s overall terminal expansion project that is expected to create about 350 jobs.

“This funding is an important component of the stimulus package,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased TSA is using stimulus funding for projects that will not only create jobs but also improve airport security. I will continue to work with PWM and TSA on this project to help ensure the safety of Mainers and other passengers flying in and out of Portland.”

“Portland International Jetport is excited about this opportunity and thanks Senator Collins for her work,” said PWM Airport Director Paul Bradbury.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins, along with Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-D CT) held a hearing earlier this week to examine how the federal government will account for the billions of dollars expected to be spent over the next two years as a result of the economic stimulus package and help ensure that strong accountability measures are in place and that the spending is as transparent as possible.

The inquiry also focused on ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to prevent cost overruns as agencies enter into contracts to spend ARRA funds, that strict oversight of contractor performance occurs, that grant conditions are met, a qualified acquisition workforce is in place, and that fraud is promptly prosecuted. The Committee also looked at the challenges of presenting quick and accurate information about how the funds are being spent so that taxpayers may follow the process and determine if their money is being spent wisely and effectively.