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entitled 'Aviation Security: Cost Estimates Related to TSA Funding of 
Checked Baggage Screening Systems at Los Angeles and Ontario Airports' 
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Report to Congressional Committees: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

March 2007: 

Aviation Security: 

Cost Estimates Related to TSA Funding of Checked Baggage Screening 
Systems at Los Angeles and Ontario Airports: 

GAO-07-445: 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Summary of Findings: 

Scope and Methodology: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Appendix II: Briefing Slides: 

Appendix III: Comments from Los Angeles World Airports: 

Abbreviations: 

DHS: Department of Homeland Security: 
EDS: explosive detection system: 
GAO: Government Accountability Office: 
LAWA: Los Angeles World Airports: 
LAX: Los Angeles International Airport: 
LOI: letter of intent: 
LOI/MOA: letter of intent/memorandum of agreement: 
MOA: memorandum of agreement: 
ONT: Ontario International Airport: 
TSA: Transportation Security Administration: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

Washington, DC 20548: 

March 30, 2007: 

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Thad Cochran: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Subcommittee on Homeland Security: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable David E. Price: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Harold Rogers: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Subcommittee on Homeland Security: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

To meet the mandate to screen all checked baggage for explosives by 
December 31, 2003, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 
placed minivan-sized explosive detection systems (EDS) and other 
screening equipment in airport lobbies.[Footnote 1] However, these 
interim lobby solutions have caused operational inefficiencies, in part 
because they require a large number of screeners. According to TSA, in- 
line baggage screening--where EDS machines are integrated with an 
airport's baggage conveyor system--can be a more cost-effective and 
efficient alternative to lobby-based, stand-alone equipment. For 
example, in-line systems can increase the efficiency of airport, 
airline, and TSA operations, and lower costs by reducing the number of 
screeners. Moreover, in-line explosive detection systems can enhance 
security because they reduce congestion in airport lobbies, thus 
removing a potential target for terrorists. 

However, installing in-line systems can have large up-front costs, 
related to the need for airport modifications. To help defray these 
costs, in 2003, Congress authorized TSA to reimburse airports up to 75 
percent of the cost to install these systems by entering "letter of 
intent" (LOI) agreements.[Footnote 2] An LOI, though not a binding 
commitment of federal funding, represents TSA's intent to provide the 
agreed-upon funds in future years if the agency receives sufficient 
appropriations to cover the agreement. 

TSA has issued eight letters of intent to help defray the costs of 
installing in-line systems at nine airports as of February 2007, but 
none since February 2004. In September 2003, TSA and the City of Los 
Angeles signed an LOI and an attached memorandum of agreement (LOI/MOA) 
in which TSA agreed to pay an amount not to exceed 75 percent of the 
agreed upon estimated total project cost of $341 million (about $256 
million) to install in-line checked baggage screening systems at both 
Los Angeles (LAX) and Ontario (ONT) International Airports. However, in 
December 2003, officials from the City of Los Angeles' airport 
authority--Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)--informed TSA that aspects 
of the design concept were infeasible and that additional construction 
modifications would be needed. LAWA subsequently submitted a revised 
cost estimate to TSA in April 2005 and requested that TSA amend the 
LOI/MOA to increase the federal reimbursement by about $122 million. 
TSA has not amended the LOI to provide for additional reimbursements; 
however, as of February 2007, TSA had obligated the $256 million for 
the City of Los Angeles LOI/MOA in accordance with the schedule agreed 
to in the LOI and had reimbursed LAWA for about $26 million in 
expenses. 

Senate Report 109-273 directs us to review the reasons for the 
differences between the original 2003 cost estimate and the revised 
2005 cost estimate submitted by LAWA.[Footnote 3] In response and as 
agreed with committee offices,[Footnote 4] we identified the key 
factors that contributed to the differences between the two cost 
estimates. On January 23, 2007, we briefed staff of the Senate 
Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Committee on Appropriations, on the 
results of our work (see app. II). 

Summary of Findings: 

A key reason for the difference between the 2003 total project cost 
estimate and the revised 2005 estimate to install in-line baggage 
screening systems at LAX and ONT was that the 2003 estimate was 
developed at an early stage in the design process and was therefore 
based on preliminary data and assumptions that were subject to change. 
Consequently, the estimate did not adequately foresee some of the costs 
of retrofitting new systems into existing buildings or allow for 
sufficient space for the EDS machines, baggage inspection rooms, and 
conveyor belts. LAWA officials stated that they were under a tight 
timeframe to apply for the LOI because TSA had told them that federal 
funding was limited and that 17 other airports were competing for the 
funding. The 2003 total project cost estimate used concepts and 
construction estimates developed in about 12 weeks by Boeing, TSA's 
contractor. LAWA relied on designs and estimates developed by Boeing 
and its subcontractors to determine the total project cost estimate 
because the company had expertise in integrating EDS equipment into 
airports. According to TSA and LAWA officials, both TSA and Los Angeles 
signed the LOI/MOA knowing the preliminary nature of the cost estimate. 

According to construction industry guidance, an estimate's accuracy 
depends on the quality of information known about the project at the 
time the estimate is prepared.[Footnote 5] The 2003 estimate was made 
at the "concept development" stage where the final project cost can be 
expected to range from 50 percent under to 100 percent over the 
estimated cost, according to this guidance. The 2005 revised estimate 
was made at the "design development" stage where the range of the final 
project cost estimate can be expected to be more accurate--from 20 
percent under to 30 percent over the estimated cost. 

In December 2003, LAWA presented TSA with a summary of inadequacies it 
had found in the original Boeing concept and the associated potential 
cost and scheduling impacts. LAWA then began an engineering study to 
update the in-line system concepts at LAX and ONT, the results of which 
it presented to TSA in September 2004. TSA reviewed these updated 
concepts and determined that they would meet its performance 
requirements; however, TSA's review did not address cost issues. LAWA 
used these updated concepts to develop its 2005 estimate, which was 
based on more definitive information about terminal design requirements 
than the 2003 estimate. According to LAWA, new construction and 
excavation included in the 2005 designs increased the estimated costs. 
Among the design changes, LAWA determined that the placement of EDS 
machines in the 2003 concepts was infeasible in five of nine of the LAX 
terminals and both ONT terminals. In addition, the 2005 estimate 
included 20 additional baggage inspection rooms, 9 rooms for on-screen 
resolution of EDS alarms, and 10 computer rooms at LAX and ONT 
terminals. The 2005 estimate also included over $11 million in computer 
networking costs and costs associated with on-screen resolution of EDS 
alarms, which the 2003 estimate did not foresee. TSA also highlighted 
two additional factors that caused differences between the two 
estimates--cost increases due to the delay in beginning construction of 
the project and the escalation of construction costs between 2003 and 
2005. LAWA also determined that TSA's contractor and subcontractor made 
a mathematical error in the 2003 concept development estimate: 
construction costs were only included for one of the two baggage 
screening facilities and neither of the connected tunnels at ONT. TSA 
officials told us in January 2007 they were not able to substantiate 
this error. 

Further, according to LAWA, system redesigns were required because 
TSA's guidance on in-line baggage screening systems changed between the 
2003 and 2005 estimates, leading to higher estimates. Because few in- 
line systems were in use at the time of the September 2003 LOI/MOA, 
only limited information on the capabilities of the in-line EDS 
machines, including actual bags screened per hour and false alarm 
rates, was available for modeling the systems. In June 2006, TSA 
produced the Recommended Security Guidelines for Airport Planning, 
Design and Construction to guide future construction of in-line checked 
baggage screening systems based on its past experiences. TSA also 
expects to release more detailed guidelines for in-line system planning 
and design in a few months. 

The LOI/MOA affords TSA flexibility to amend the agreement to account 
for changed circumstances. However, under the terms agreed to in the 
LOI/MOA, TSA has no obligation to amend the LOI/MOA or to reimburse the 
City of Los Angeles for any additional costs beyond those agreed to in 
the LOI/MOA, and TSA officials have stated that the agency does not 
have plans for such reimbursement. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To review key factors that contributed to the differences between the 
2003 and 2005 cost estimates, we reviewed TSA and LAWA documents used 
in developing the cost estimates, including design plans, reports, 
briefings, and emails. We interviewed officials from TSA and LAWA, as 
well as TSA contractors and other relevant officials who participated 
in the cost-estimation process to learn about the factors that 
contributed to the increased estimate of the cost of in-line checked 
baggage screening systems at LAX and ONT. We visited LAX and ONT to 
obtain a first-hand perspective of the modifications needed to install 
the in-line EDS systems at both airports. Additionally, we examined 
industry guidance on estimating costs for construction projects. We did 
not independently verify the 2003 or 2005 cost estimates. 

We conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards from October 2006 through March 2007. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of this report to LAWA and the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS) for review and comment. LAWA provided written 
comments which we have included in their entirety in appendix III. DHS 
provided no written comments. TSA provided e-mail comments. In 
addition, LAWA and TSA provided technical comments concerning facts in 
the report which we incorporated as appropriate. 

In its March 8, 2007, comments, LAWA wrote that it believes the draft 
did not paint an accurate or complete picture of the facts. In general, 
LAWA raised three points: (1) TSA has the authority to revise the LOI 
to reflect accurate cost figures and explicitly anticipated doing so 
during the LOI/MOA development process, (2) the report fails to assign 
specific responsibility for initial designs and any errors, as directed 
by the Report of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and (3) the 
report does not recognize that LAWA responded to TSA urgency in 
completing the agreements and, as a result, used preliminary design and 
cost estimates as the basis for entering into the LOI/MOA. 

We do not agree with LAWA's comments. With respect to its first point, 
it is true that the LOI/MOA agreements afford TSA flexibility to amend 
the agreements to account for changed circumstances. As stated in our 
report, however, under the terms of the LOI/MOA and in accordance with 
the law, TSA is under no obligation to amend the LOI/MOA or to 
reimburse LAWA for any costs beyond those agreed upon in the LOI/MOA. 
To date, as noted in our report, TSA has not indicated any intent to 
amend the LOI/MOA agreements to provide LAWA with additional funding 
for this project. 

LAWA states that it did not believe it would be held financially 
responsible for increases in eligible and allowable costs due to 
reasons beyond its control. When subsequent estimates revealed that the 
project costs would exceed the LOI/MOA-estimated amount, LAWA requested 
an amendment to the LOI to receive a 75 percent federal reimbursement 
of the $485 million revised estimate. 

LAWA also commented that a senior TSA official provided written 
assurances that the agency "would have the opportunity to cover an 
increase in costs due to design changes" and referenced an April 2004 e-
mail from a TSA official to LAWA in support of this assertion. LAWA 
noted that it relied on this and other assurances from TSA, "reinforced 
in various discussions," at the time it concluded the LOI/MOA process. 

While the April 2004 e-mail cited above did note that LAWA would not 
"be held to estimates that do not prove to be right on the mark," this 
particular statement was made at least seven months after TSA and LAWA 
had concluded the LOI/MOA process and entered into the agreements. 
Furthermore, the MOA clearly provides that the agreement signed by both 
parties constitutes the "complete integration of all understandings 
between the parties." More generally, it provides that any prior, 
contemporaneous, or subsequent changes, whether written or oral, have 
no force or effect, and that any changes or modifications to the MOA 
must be in writing, signed by the TSA Contracting Officer, and duly 
executed by the City of Los Angeles to have such force or effect. 
Neither LAWA nor TSA presented any documentation suggesting that steps 
prescribed in the MOA had been (or were anticipated to be) taken to 
amend the LOI/MOA with respect to the reimbursable amount. 

LAWA also stated that the report does not reflect the extensive and 
protracted discussions LAWA had with TSA, leaving the impression that 
LAWA simply presented a new set of design concepts to TSA in September 
2004. Our objective in this report, as agreed with congressional 
offices, was to identify the key factors that contributed to the 
differences between the 2003 and the 2005 cost estimates. As such, we 
reported that LAWA reported the findings of its engineering study in 
September 2004 and that TSA approved the concepts. We believe this 
statement sufficiently demonstrates the agreement between TSA and LAWA 
on the revised designs. 

In its second point, LAWA suggests that the GAO report avoids assigning 
responsibility to TSA or its contractors and, as a result, "failed to 
answer the Senate Committee's direction to provide a detailed 
explanation of the reasons for any differences the original estimate, 
including identification of and the party responsible for any material 
mistakes, omissions, and infeasible design concepts in the original 
estimate." 

The objective of the report, as agreed with the appropriate 
congressional offices in accordance with our Congressional Protocols, 
was to identify factors contributing to differences between the 
estimates. To the extent appropriate, we identified the roles and 
responsibilities of the various parties. Specifically, we noted that 
Boeing produced the conceptual designs that served as the basis for the 
2003 estimate agreed to in the LOI/MOA. We noted that these designs had 
been developed at an early stage of the design process, which assumes 
costs that can differ greatly from final project costs. The report also 
states that LAWA had determined that Boeing had made a mathematical 
error in the Ontario estimate. Further, we determined that both TSA and 
LAWA had signed the LOI/MOA knowing of the preliminary nature of the 
cost estimate. Finally, as referenced in our scope and methodology and 
as agreed with the congressional offices, in identifying factors 
associated with the estimates, we did not independently verify the 2003 
or 2005 cost estimates. 

In its third point, LAWA suggests the report does not recognize that 
LAWA responded to TSA urgency in completing the agreements and, as a 
result, used preliminary design and cost estimates as the basis for 
entering into the LOI/MOA. 

The report notes that "LAWA officials stated that they were under a 
tight timeframe because TSA had told them that federal funding was 
limited and 17 other airports were competing for the funding." We 
identified this as a factor associated with the preliminary nature of 
the 2003 estimate. LAWA also commented that it was essentially required 
to accept the Boeing design and cost estimates. The report states that 
TSA and LAWA used the Boeing estimate to provide the basis for the 
estimate agreed to in the September 2003 LOI/MOA. Neither TSA nor LAWA 
provided evidence suggesting that TSA had required LAWA to accept the 
Boeing design and cost estimates. 

In its e-mail comments, TSA stated that concept development for in-line 
solutions at all of the airports with LOIs was a collaborative effort 
between TSA and the respective airport entity. TSA further stated that 
most of the LOI estimates were developed early in the concept 
development phase. We incorporated a comment into the report to 
acknowledge that TSA viewed the development of the concepts as a 
partnership; however, we did not review concept development at other 
airports. 

In its comments, TSA also states that there were only two changes in 
its guidance between 2003 and 2005. The first was the addition of the 
use of On-Screen Alarm Resolution Protocol during the alarm resolution 
process, which TSA acknowledged required redesign and associated cost 
increases. The second was the increase in the baggage throughput number 
per EDS which led to the deletion of 13 EDS machines from the quantity 
estimated in the 2003 concepts. According to TSA, this would have a 
significant impact on lowering the overall project cost, which would be 
supported by decreasing required space, baggage handling system 
infrastructure (generally up to $4 million per machine on average) and 
associated electrical, mechanical, data and other infrastructure. 

In its comments, TSA described two additional factors that caused 
differences between the two estimates--cost increases due to the delay 
in beginning construction of the project and the escalation of 
construction costs between 2003 and 2005. We incorporated this comment 
into the report. 

Finally, TSA stated in its comments that it had reviewed the 
mathematical error LAWA determined Boeing made in the 2003 concept for 
ONT, and had not been able to validate that the error had been made. In 
our report we acknowledge that TSA was not able to substantiate the 
error. 

We will send copies of this report to the Secretary of Homeland 
Security and the Assistant Secretary, Transportation Security 
Administration, and interested congressional committees. We will send a 
copy of the report to LAWA and will also make copies available to 
others upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no 
charge on GAO's Web site at http://www.gao.gov. If you have any 
questions or need additional information, please contact me at (202) 
512-2757 or goldenkoffr@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. Key contributors to this report are acknowledged 
in appendix I. 

Signed by: 

Robert Goldenkoff: 
Acting Director: 
Homeland Security and Justice Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Robert Goldenkoff (202) 512-2757: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact named above, Charles Bausell, Kevin Copping, 
Kimberly Cutright, Glenn Davis, Terrell Dorn, Maria Edelstein, Richard 
Hung, Julian King, Brian Lipman, Thomas Lombardi, Amanda Miller, and 
Linda Miller made key contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Briefing Slides: 

Review of Cost Estimates for Installing Baggage Screening Systems at 
Los Angeles and Ontario Airports: 

Briefing for Congressional Committees: 

Introduction: 

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C.  44901(d), all checked baggage at U.S. airports 
was to be screened using explosive detection systems by December 31, 
2003. 

We have reported that, according to the Transportation Security 
Administration's (TSA) analysis, in-line baggage screening-where 
explosive detection systems (EDS) are integrated with an airport's 
baggage conveyor equipment-can be more cost-effective compared to 
placing EDS machines in airport lobbies.[Footnote 6] 

However, installing in-line EDS systems can involve large up-front 
costs. 

To help defray the cost of installing in-line baggage screening 
systems, in 2003, Congress authorized TSA to reimburse airports up to 
75 percent of the systems' cost by issuing "letters of intent" 
(LOI).[Footnote 7] 

An LOI, though not a binding commitment of federal funding, represents 
TSA's intent to provide funds in future years if they are appropriated 
by Congress. TSA has signed 8 letter of intent agreements for the 
installation of in-line checked baggage screening systems at 9 airports 
(one LOI covered both LAX and ONT). 

In September 2003, TSA and the City of Los Angeles signed a LOI and an 
attached memorandum of agreement (MOA) to help fund the installation of 
in-line checked baggage screening systems at Los Angeles (LAX) and 
Ontario (ONT) International Airports. 

Under the LOI/MOA, TSA agreed to pay for 75 percent of the estimated 
total project cost of $341 million (about $256 million). 

In April 2005, the City of Los Angeles' airport authority-Los Angeles 
World Airports (LAWA)-submitted to TSA a revised cost estimate of $485 
million and requested that the LOI/MOA be amended to increase the 
federal reimbursement to about $378 million to reflect increased 
estimated total project costs. 

Objectives: 

Senate Report 109-273 directs GAO to review the differences between the 
original 2003 cost estimate and LAWA's revised 2005 cost 
estimates.[Footnote 8] 

As agreed with committee offices, GAO identified the key factors that 
contributed to the differences in the two estimates. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To address the objective, we: 

* reviewed key TSA and LAWA documents used in developing the cost 
estimates, including design plans, reports, briefings, and emails; 

* interviewed TSA, LAWA, and other officials who participated in the 
cost-estimation process; 

* visited LAX and ONT to obtain a first hand perspective of the 
modifications needed to install the in-line EDS Systems at both 
airports; and: 

* reviewed industry guidance on estimating costs for construction 
projects. 

We did not independently verify the 2003 or 2005 cost estimates for 
installing the in-line EDS systems or the reasonableness/adequacy of 
the designs. 

We conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards from October 2006 through March 2007. 

Results in Brief: 

The rise in the estimate between 2003 and 2005 was primarily related to 
the fact that the 2003 estimate was developed at an early stage in the 
design process and was therefore based on preliminary data and 
assumptions that were subject to change. 

LAWA officials stated that they were under a tight timeframe to apply 
for the LOI because TSA had told them that federal funding was limited 
and that 17 other airports were competing for the funding. 

The 2003 estimate did not adequately foresee some of the costs of 
retrofitting new systems into existing buildings. 

Further, TSA's guidance on in-line baggage screening systems changed 
between the 2003 and 2005 estimates, which contributed to changes in 
terminal designs and related cost estimates. 

According to TSA and LAWA officials, both TSA and Los Angeles signed 
the LOI/MOA knowing the preliminary nature of the cost estimate. 

The LOI/MOA affords TSA the flexibility to amend the agreements to 
account for changed circumstances. However, under the terms agreed to 
in the LOI/MOA, TSA has no obligation to amend the LOI/MOA or to 
reimburse Los Angeles for any costs beyond those agreed to in the LOI/ 
MOA and does not have plans to do so. 

Background: 

In-line EDS systems are advantageous because they can: 

Increase the efficiency airport, airline, and TSA operations. 

Lower costs by reducing the number of transportation security officers 
required to screen checked baggage. 

Move screening equipment out of airport lobbies where it causes 
overcrowding, creating a potential target for terrorists. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO: 

In-line EDS systems are integrated with airports' baggage-handling 
conveyor systems. 

[End of figure] 

TSA and LAWA initiated discussions about in-line solutions for LAX and 
ONT in January 2003 in order to replace stand-alone EDS machines in the 
airports' lobbies. 

LAWA used concepts and construction estimates developed by TSA's 
contractor, Boeing, for the LAX and ONT in-line baggage screening 
systems because of Boeing's and its subcontractors' expertise in 
integrating explosive detection systems into airports. 

TSA reported that concepts for LAX and ONT were developed through a 
partnership between LAWA and the agency. 

Boeing's 2003 cost estimate consisted of $260 million for LAX and $24 
million for ONT. LAWA and TSA agreed to add another $57 million (or 20 
percent) for estimated administrative expenses for a total project cost 
of $341 million. 

In December 2003, LAWA presented TSA with a summary of inadequacies it 
had found in the original concepts, and the associated potential cost 
and scheduling impacts. 

In April 2005, LAWA submitted a revised cost estimate to TSA based on 
TSA approved concepts from a September 2004 LAWA engineering study. 

This revised cost estimate included a request that TSA amend the LOI/ 
MOA to increase the federal reimbursement by about $122 million, a sum 
that would raise the total federal reimbursement to about $378 
million.[Footnote 9] 

As of February 2007, TSA has obligated $256 million in accordance with 
the schedule set forth in the LOI/MOA for Los Angeles. As of October 
2006, TSA had reimbursed LAWA for about $26 million in expenses from 
the total amount obligated. 

Development of the 2003 Estimate: 

LAWA officials stated that they were under a tight timeframe to apply 
for the LOI because TSA told them that federal funding was limited and 
that 17 other airports were competing for the funding. 

TSA's Boeing contracting team spent about 12 weeks from January to 
April 2003 to develop initial drawings (known as concept development 
drawings) and construction cost estimates. Between April and September 
2003, TSA and LAWA negotiated the addition of administrative and 
contingency costs to the estimate. 

TSA's in-line system design guidance was evolving while the estimate 
was being developed, requiring frequent changes to the conceptual 
drawings. 

Accuracy of Cost Estimates Depends on Completeness and Maturity of 
Information: 

The accuracy of an estimate depends on the quality of information known 
about the project at the time the estimate is being prepared. 

The 2003 estimate was made at the "concept development" stage where the 
final project cost can be expected to range from 50 percent under to 
100 percent over the estimated cost based on construction industry 
guidance.[Footnote 10] 

The 2005 estimate was made at the "design development" stage where the 
final project cost can be expected to range from 20 percent under to 30 
percent over the estimated cost. (See fig. 1.) 

Figure 1: 2003 Estimate Was Conducted at an Early Stage of the Design 
Process: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis based on Construction Industry Institute, 
Improving Early Estimates Research Team, Improving Early Estimates: 
Best Practices Guide (September 1998). 

[End of figure] 

The Use of Preliminary Information Limited the Precision of the 2003 
Estimate: 

Due to the preliminary information on which it was based, the 2003 
estimate did not foresee some of the challenges of retrofitting new 
systems into existing buildings and did not include space for various 
screening operations. 

LAWA determined that the 2003 concepts for each terminal did not allow 
for sufficient space for the EDS machines, conveyor belts, and the 
construction of baggage inspection rooms, rooms for computer monitors 
for on-screen resolution of EDS alarms and rooms for computer routers 
and servers. 

LAWA determined that the placement of EDS machines in the 2003 concepts 
needed to be changed in five of the nine terminals at LAX and both ONT 
terminals. 

The 2005 Estimate Was Based on More Definitive Information: 

The revised 2005 estimate was based on concepts approved by TSA in 2004 
which included more definitive information about terminal design 
requirements than the 2003 estimate. 

The 2005 estimate designs included new construction and excavation, 
leading to cost estimate increases. 

The 2005 estimate included the incorporation of 20 additional baggage 
inspection rooms, 9 on-screen resolution rooms and 10 computer rooms at 
LAX and ONT terminals. 

The 2005 estimate included over $11 million in networking costs and 
costs associated with on-screen resolution of EDS alarms. 

TSA also highlighted two additional factors that impacted the estimates-
cost increases due to the delay in beginning construction of the 
project and the escalation of construction costs between 2003 and 2005. 

In 2004, LAWA determined that Boeing had made a mathematical error in 
the 2003 concept development estimate: construction costs were only 
included for one of the two baggage screening facilities and neither 
connecting tunnel at ONT. In January 2007, TSA officials told us that 
they were not able to substantiate the mathematical error in the 2003 
concept development estimate. 

Table 1: Estimated Costs for LAX and ONT Terminals-2003 and 2005: 

Terminal 1 (LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $42.9; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $108.8[1]; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $35.1 (48 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2003 concept envisioned separate screening areas for each terminal; 
* 2004 LAWA review determined the concept for terminal 1 was 
infeasible; 
* 2005 LAWA design consolidated the screening area in one new building 
between the terminals. 

Terminal 2(LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $30.1; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): [Empty]; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): [Empty]; 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2003 concept envisioned separate screening areas for each terminal; 
* 2004 LAWA review determined the concept for terminal 1 was 
infeasible; 
* 2005 LAWA design consolidated the screening area in one new building 
between the terminals. 

Terminal 3(LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $45.0; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $50.8; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $5.8 (13 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2005 LAWA review determined that terminal would need to be modified 
to accommodate the EDS machines and conveyor belts; 
* 2005 LAWA review also determined electrical upgrades were needed to 
accommodate EDS power requirements; 
* 2005 LAWA design modifications included the construction of a 
structure for new baggage inspection and screening rooms. 

Terminal 4 (LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $21.0; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $52.6; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $31.6 (150 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2003 concept envisioned above ground and elevated EDS machine 
location; 
* 2004 LAWA review determined that space constraints and construction 
disruptions made the 2003 concept infeasible; 
* 2005 design envisioned constructing a building below ground level to 
accommodate the required EDS machines. This excavation required 
constructing tunnels and reinforcing the roof of the building to 
support the tarmac. 

Terminal 5 (LAX): 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $18.0; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $40.2; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $22.2 (123 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2005 design included additional control software needed to integrate 
baggage handling system; 
* 2005 design extended roofing to cover baggage handling system; 
* 2005 design included construction of new baggage inspection and 
screening rooms; 
* LAWA believes that the 2003 estimate for the conveyor system was 
substantially low and inconsistent with estimates for similar LAX 
terminals. 

Terminal 6 (LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $37.8; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $46.0; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $8.2 (22 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2005 designs include additional space to accommodate the baggage 
screening system; 
* Baggage system control room added in 2005 designs. 

Terminal 7 (LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $17.8; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $32.5; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $14.7 (82 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* For the 2005 design, LAWA determined that the terminal building would 
need to be expanded to accommodate required EDS machines; 
* 2005 design included construction of new baggage inspection and 
screening rooms; 
* LAWA believes that the 2003 estimate for the conveyor system was 
substantially low and inconsistent with estimates for similar LAX 
terminals. 

Terminal 8 (LAX); 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $6.3; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $17.2; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $11.0 (174 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2004 LAWA review determined that the 2003 concept was infeasible 
because of space constraints; 
* 2005 design included modification and demolition work on the terminal 
building; 
* 2005 design incorporated the construction of a baggage inspection 
room and an addition to the terminal building to accommodate the EDS 
machines; 
* LAWA believes that the 2003 estimate for the conveyor system was 
substantially low and inconsistent with estimates for similar LAX 
terminals. 

Tom Bradley International; 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $91.2; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $91.8; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $0.6 (1 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2005 design included new buildings to accommodate a second baggage 
inspection room and EDS machines for re-screening checked baggage from 
international flights. 

ONT; 
2003 LOI/MOA estimate (dollars in millions): $28.5; 
2005 estimate (dollars in millions): $53.3; 
Rise is estimate cost (dollars in millions): $24.8 (87 percent); 
Design changes/key reasons for estimate increase based on GAO review of 
LAWA documentation: 
* 2003 concept development estimate drawings envisioned constructing a 
below ground checked baggage screening facility, including conveyor 
tunnels for both terminals; 
* In 2004, LAWA determined that Boeing had made a mathematical error in 
the 2003 concept development estimate: construction costs were only 
included for one of the two baggage screening facilities and neither 
connecting tunnel. In January 2007, TSA officials told us that they 
were not able to substantiate this error; 
* The 2005 design envisioned construction an above ground EDS facility 
at each terminal.   

Source: GAO analysis of LAWA data. 

[1] Number reflects the total cost for terminals 1 and 2. 

[End of table] 

Changes in TSA Guidance and Evolving Technologies Contributed to Rise 
in Estimate: 

According to LAWA, changes in TSA guidance on in-line system designs 
after the LOI/MOA was signed necessitated system redesigns. 

Because few in-line systems were in use at the time of the LOI/MOA, 
limited information on the capabilities of the in-line EDS machines, 
including actual bags screened per hour and false alarm rates, was 
available for modeling the systems. 

In June 2006, TSA produced Recommended Security Guidelines for Airport 
Planning, Design and Construction to guide future construction of in- 
line checked baggage screening systems. TSA also expects to release 
more detailed guidelines for in-line system planning and design in a 
few months. 

Concluding Observations: 

The rise in the estimate between 2003 and 2005 was primarily related to 
the fact that the 2003 estimate was developed at an early stage in the 
design process and was therefore based on preliminary data and 
assumptions that were subject to change. 

According to TSA and LAWA officials, both TSA and Los Angeles signed 
the LOI/MOA knowing the preliminary nature of the cost estimate. 

The LOI/ MOA affords TSA flexibility to amend the agreements to account 
for changed circumstances. However, under the terms agreed to in the 
LOI/MOA, TSA has no obligation to amend the LOI/MOA or to reimburse Los 
Angeles for any additional costs beyond those agreed to in the LOI/MOA 
and does not have plans to do so. 

Time Line of Key Events from the 2003 and 2005 Cost Estimates: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of TSA and LAWA data. 

[End of figure] 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Comments from Los Angeles World Airports: 

Los Angeles World Airports: 

March 8, 2007: 

By electronic mail: goldenkoffr@gao.gov

Mr. Robert Goldenkoff: 
Acting Director: 
Homeland Security and Justice: 
United States Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Mr. Goldenkoff, 

This letter provides the comments of Los Angeles World Airports 9LAWA) 
on the February 2007 Draft Report entitled "Aviation Security: Cost 
Estimates Related to TSA Funding of Checked Baggage Screening Systems 
at Los Angeles and Ontario Airports" (Report). We thank you for the 
opportunity to review the draft and to discuss our views on this 
matter. 

In three respects, we believe the Report does not paint an accurate or 
complete picture of the facts. 

1. TSA has the authority to revise the LOI to reflect accurate cost 
figures and explicitly anticipated doing so during the LOI/MOA 
development process, but has failed to meet that expectation to correct 
reimbursement levels for LAWA. 

Despite contemporaneous assurances made by TSA to adjust the LOI/MOA 
and provide additional reimbursements based on the anticipated need for 
future design modifications, the Report only states, at page 4, that 
"TSA has no obligation to reimburse the City of Los Angeles for any 
additional costs beyond those agreed to in the LOI/MOA, and TSA 
officials stated that the agency does not have plans for such 
reimbursements." 

TSA explicitly incorporated in the LOI the ability to make an 
adjustment to reflect additional costs, anticipating the need for a 
correction. The LOI states, at pages 1-2 (emphasis added): 

The TSA may, from time to time, following consultation with the City, 
amend this LOI and the MOA to adjust the payment schedule, and such 
adjustments may be made by the TSA when occasioned by changes in the 
actual allowable costs of the Project, the the actual time to complete 
the Project, in actual  or estimated future obligating authority, or 
otherwise, when determined at the Administrator's discretion to be in 
the best interests of the United States. 

LAWA considered this provision important, because TSA and LAWA agreed 
that the LOI cost estimates were developed from preliminary designs--
prepared by TSA's own contractor and subcontractor--that were likely to 
change, including as a result of subsequent TSA changes to guidelines 
in baggage system design requirements. Indeed, TSA has since exercised 
this authority by amending the LOI/MOA to reflect changes in timing and 
scope of the project. 

Moreover, in 2004 a senior TSA official provided written assurances to 
LAWA that TSA would have an opportunity to cover an increase in costs 
due to design changes. In an April 22, 2004 e-mail provided to GAO, the 
TSA official stated: 

We really do understand that as designs get fleshed-out and actual bids 
come in, there will have to be some adjustments made to the MOA. Please 
do not feel as if you'll be left holding the bag or be held to 
estimates that do not prove to be right on the mark. 

There will be many reasons to "adjust." As we get into construction, 
we'll again be dealing with "puts and takes." Since we're talking 
reimbursement of allowable costs (not firm-fixed-price), we'll have the 
opportunity on the back-end to reconcile (FY06-07). 

LAWA relied on this and other assurances from TSA, reinforced in 
various discussions, at the time it concluded the LOI/MOA process. 

The Report also does not reflect the subsequent extensive and 
protracted discussions LAWA has with TSA, leaving the impression that 
LAWA simply presented a new set of design concepts to TSA in September 
2004. In fact, TSA and LAWA worked extensively over several months, 
culminating in its submission of an engineering study in September 
2004, which TSA approved later that month. LAWA used these updates, TSA-
approved concepts for reimbursement in 2006[Footnote 11] 

LAWA appropriately requested an amendment to the LOI to receive the 
statutory required 75% federal reimbursement of the $485 million 
(without inflation) that TSA has deemed actual eligible and allowable 
costs of the project, an increase of $107.25 million in revised coss 
estimates were agreed to by TSA and based on TSA-approved final designs 
and guidelines revised by TSA with substantial input from LAWA. 

The Report recognizes that both TSA and LAWA assumed design cost 
estimates were preliminary, which gives meaning to the highlighted text 
of the LOI quoted above. The agreement LAWA and other airport sponsors 
entered with TSA was based on receiving reimbursement of 75% of 
eligible and allowable project costs, as mandated by Congress. LAWA did 
not believe it would be held financially responsible for an increase in 
eligible and allowable costs due to reasons beyond its control. Having 
received assurances from TSA, it moved forward and expects ultimately 
to be reimbursed for those costs. 

2. The Report fails to assign specific responsibility for initial 
designs and many errors, as directed by Senate Committee language. 

The Report avoids assigning responsibility to the TSA, Boeing, its 
contractor, or Turner, its subcontractor, even where doing so is highly 
relevant to the equities in LAWA's request for additional 
reimbursement. GAO thus has failed to answer the Senate Committee's 
direction to "provide a detailed explanation of the reasons for any 
differences from the original estimate, including identification of and 
the party responsible for any material mistakes, omissions, and 
infeasible design concepts in the original estimate." 

Most obvious, is the Report's treatment of the "mathematical error at 
ONT." in failing to account for two terminals at that airport and 
neither of the connecting tunnels. Although the Report states that the 
TSA "was not able to substantiate this error," significant issues 
contributing to the error should have been evident upon close 
inspection of the documents. GAO performed no independent verification 
of TSA or LAWA numbers, the omission of these facilities is readily 
apparent from the documents that Boeing submitted, and the former 
Boeing project manager responsible for development of the estimates 
confirmed the error. 

In addition, TSA's statement, in a footnote on slide 8, that "a LAWA 
contractor provided Boeing with baggage handling concept designed for 
LAW and ONT," is simply untrue. Turner, a subcontractor, to TSA's 
contractor Boeing, provided this information to Boeing in 2003. LAWA 
later hired Turner , in 2004, to assist on this project, but only after 
Turner was no longer working for TSA and Boeing. Turner was not an LAWA 
contractor, but a TSA subcontractor to Boeing, and thus did not act of 
behalf of LAWA in any capacity to determine the initial design and cad 
cost estimates. LAWA relied on these estimates because there was not 
enough time to make an independent assessment that would have 
identified the errors, omissions, and fact critical to the question of 
accountability. 

In determining whether, as a matter of public policy, the TSA or LAWA 
should shoulder the financial burden of the increase in allowable 
costs, it is important to determine the proportionate amount of costs 
due to TSA, its contractor, Boeing, its subcontractor Turner LAWA, or 
the inherent and inevitable inadequacies of preliminary design 
concepts. Although table 1 breaks down the revision in cost estimates 
per airport and terminal, the Report refrains from assigning 
responsibility to any party, and does not attempt to determine what 
portion of the increase in costs was due to any particular error or 
design change. 

3. The Report does not recognize that LAWA responded to TSA urgency in 
completing the agreements, resulting in the use of preliminary design 
and cost estimates open to future revisions. 

The Report does not convey the critical fact that LAWA operated under 
TSA direction that time was of the essence to complete the LOI/MOA. 
LAWA's statement that it was under a tight time frame to apply for the 
LOI is fact. TSA's push to conclude the LOI/MOA as son as practicable 
is supported by e-mail correspondence between TSA and LAWA before the 
LOI/MOA was signed. 

Given this time pressure, LAWA essentially was required to accept the 
Boeing design and cost estimates and did not have sufficient 
opportunity to conduct a thorough and detailed review. That the design 
of such a complicated and complex project may well take years and 
cannot be expected to be completed within the short time frame provided 
is confirmed but the publication, in 2006, of the TSA Design and 
Construction Guidelines referred to in the Report. These Guidelines 
were based in substantial part on input received from LAWA and LAWA 
consultants during the design development period at LAX and ONT from 
2003 to 2005, some of whom are listed as contributors to the 
Guidelines. 

Conclusion: 

In summary, this Report fails to reflect, fully and clearly, the 
context in which LAWA has sought the LOI/MOA cost adjustment. 
Specifically, in determining the original cost figures for inclusion in 
the LOI/MOA, responding to TSA's urgency, LAWA was forced to rely on 
the designs and cost estimates submitted to it by TSA's contractor and 
subcontractor, but with the mutual understanding that those costs would 
be adjusted later. Shortly after the LOI/MOA was signed, LAWA 
determined that cost estimates were based on errors, omissions, and 
infeasible design concepts, and promptly notified TSA. LAWA then worked 
with TSA over many months to revise these designs, not only to address 
identified problems, but also to follow changes in TSA design 
requirements. The increased cost estimates are based on TSA-approved 
final designs and TSA determinations of eligible and allowable costs. 
Throughout this entire period, LAWA acted responsibly and in good faith 
to comply with TSA guidelines. As provided in the LOI/MOA and 
anticipated during discussions with TSA, LAWA seeks Federal 
reimbursement only of its Congressionally-mandated share of these 
eligible and allowable costs. 

Again, we appreciate the opportunity to provide our views on the 
report. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Alan I. Rothenberg, President: 
Board of Airport Commissioners: 

Signed by: 

Samson Mengistu: 
Acting Executive Director: 

[End of section] 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] See 49 U.S.C.  44901(d). 

[2] See Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108- 
7,  367, 117 Stat. 11, 423-24. See also 49 U.S.C.  44923. 

[3] See S. Rep. No. 109-273, at 44 (2006) (accompanying H.R. 5441, as 
passed by the Senate; subsequently enacted into law as the Department 
of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-295, 120 
Stat. 1355 (2006)). 

[4] Our Congressional Protocols state that GAO will work with the 
majority and minority of the designated committee to clarify the scope 
of work, reporting objectives, and time frames. 

[5] Improving Early Estimates Research Team, Improving Early Estimates: 
Best Practices Guide, Construction Industry Institute, September 1998. 

[6] GAO, Aviation Security: Systematic Planning Needed to Optimize the 
Deployment of Checked Baggage Screening Systems, GAO-05-365 
(Washington, D.C.: Mar.15, 2005). 

[7] See Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-
7,  367, 117 Stat. 11, 423-24. See also 49 U.S.C.  44923. 

[8] See S. Rep. No. 109-273, at 44 (2006) (accompanying H.R. 5441, as 
passed by the Senate; subsequently enacted into law as the Department 
of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-295, 120 
Stat. 1355 (2006)). 

[9] In comments on a draft of this report, LAWA wrote that it requested 
75 percent federal reimbursement of the $485 million, an increase of 
around $107 million. This amount differs from the almost $122 million 
it requested in its April 19, 2005, letter to TSA. 

[10] Construction Industry Institute, Improving Early Estimates 
Research Team, Improving Early Estimates: Best Practices Guide 
(September 1998). 

[11] While the corrected designs reflected a significant increase in 
costs, they also reduced the number of EDS machines needed at LAX and 
ONT by 15, providing a substantial cost savings for TSA of 
approximately $45 million. 

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