NEW YORK (WABC) --U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is urging the Transportation Security Administration to put more dogs on the passenger-screening line to reduce long delays for travelers going through security at New York City airports.
The New York Democrat says the highly trained dogs and additional TSA workers would get travelers through the lines more quickly while improving security.
He cited a regional transit authority report that the average maximum wait time for travelers at Kennedy airport in a monthlong period ending April 15 increased 82 percent from the same period last year.
Schumer says the dog teams could cut time spent going through security in half, and he predicted the lines would become even longer and slower without their addition at New York airports, among the busiest in the world.
Recently, the Port Authority issued an ultimatum; get passengers through security faster or let a private security company step in and do the job.
Security expert Manny Gomez, a former FBI agent, believes it will be more efficient and cost effective to let private screeners step in at JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty airports.
"Privatizing it would hold the people that are selected to be the screeners more accountable. It would cost the federal government infinitely less, and it would make the process a lot more streamlined and seamless," Gomez said.
The TSA will encourage travelers at Newark Liberty Airport to enroll in its pre-check program, one of several measures the agency is promoting to ease security lines before the summer travel season.
More than 60,000 passengers went through the airport Thursday and those numbers are rising while TSA staff positions have decreased.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)