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Port Authority to step up Queens airports’ security

The agency said it would spend $80 million on a system to detect and deter anyone trying to get inside outer fences and barriers at the airports and $14 million for closed circuit cameras at security checkpoints.Another $6 million will pay for a biometrics system for employee identification. Biometrics systems use highly sophisticated technology for fingerprinting and eye iris scanning to verify the identity of people, the Port Authority said."Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Port Authority has worked closely with the federal Transportation Safety Authority, the airlines and our other airport partners to introduce many new safeguards," said Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles Gargano. "But we know that as strong as our record has been on security, this important work is never done and we must remain vigilant."The Port Authority also approved a $75 million contract for building a new parking garage for the new American Airlines terminal now under construction at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The terminal is opposite the new Terminal 8 and will connect to the JFK station of the high- speed AirTrain system.Under provisions of the plan, American Airlines is obligated to pay for one third of the cost of the five-level parking facility, which will provide nearly 2,000 spaces for vehicles.The Port Authority also approved the hiring of aviation consulting firms to study and plan the modernization and improvement of the Central Terminal building at LaGuardia and Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. When LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal opened in 1964, 3.7 million passengers used the airport. At its peak in 2000, the total reached 25.4 million, then declined as air traffic did nationwide following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.The airport has undergone a steady recovery and the Port Authority said it expects passenger traffic at LaGuardia to increase to 30 million sometime between 2015 and 2020, up from 22.5 million in 2003.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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