- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Some relief may be coming for frustrated travelers who have waited in long security lines at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus, said Sunday at a news conference at the airport that she spoke with Peter Neffenger of the Transportation Security Administration and he promised to help reduce the long lines by providing additional agents.

Last month, when TSA consolidated its checkpoints from six to two, hour-long delays were created that led to missed flights and increased frustrations for travelers, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1QBpcYT ) reported.

Klobuchar said Neffenger told her that he will send additional crews of TSA agents this week and later this month. She said she asked him to “come out and take responsibility,” and told her that he would help.

But airport officials said the relief won’t be immediate and travelers should still show up two hours early, especially since the airport is nearing its busiest time of the year.

On Sunday, the longest wait in the security line was 63 minutes, with the average time between 45 and 48 minutes, according to executive director and CEO of the airport commission Jeff Hamiel.

Klobuchar said an increase in travelers and a decrease in TSA personnel are to blame for the long lines.

In June, an Inspector General report was released that showed a number of security breaches at airports, including people who were able to get weapons through security. The TSA had to respond by temporarily removing some agents from the airports so they could receive additional training.

Legislators recently approved a $7.4 billion budget for the TSA after it became clear that the agency didn’t anticipate an increase in travelers and a decrease in its personnel, Klobuchar said.

Since 2011, the Twin Cities have seen a 10.5 percent increase in travelers, compared with a 7 percent increase across the nation.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

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