Thursday, March 17, 2011

TWIC: Where’s the pot of gold?

After the distress truckers and the more than 1 million other workers have endured, is TWIC going to be the next federal program deemed inefficient and ineffective?

More than 300,000 truckers have enrolled in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.

Many, including OOIDA Life Member Gary Carr, signed up at a port several states away from home. That means they scheduled an application appointment, gathered important documents like passports and birth certificates, traveled to an enrollment center that most likely offered zero truck parking spaces, and waited in line to be interviewed and processed.

Then they came back weeks or months later to pick up the card at the same enrollment center.

It appears that for all their efforts, TWIC may not be all that effective. Recent reports at the Port of Baltimore revealed that about one fourth of the nearly 1,000 longshoremen at the port have been convicted of a crime in Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun has highlighted findings that 21 longshoremen had been convicted of serious crimes such as armed robbery, possession with the intent to distribute drugs, drug dealing, firearms, sex offense, theft and assault. One worker had 10 convictions including drug dealing, firearms, robbery and car theft.

Land Line Magazine and Land Line Now followed the implementation of TWIC for years in order to give drivers a heads up on the new ID card’s rollout. We’ve also reported concerns by truckers and members of the United States House of Representatives about the program, which has racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in costs.

Some OOIDA members, including Carr have said they’re not asked to show their TWIC as close as 10 feet to port water.

In January, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the ending of a multi-million dollar border security initiative launched years ago by the last White House administration. Will TWIC, like all too many federal visions, follow a rainbow to no pot of gold?