Longer Lines At LAX, Other Airports As Budget Cuts Take Effect

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — It may take a few days, but the impact of automatic across-the-board budget cuts in Washington could soon make an impact in the Southland.

Lines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) were among the longest in the nation over the weekend due to sequestration cuts that took effect on March 1, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

The Transportation Security Administration is expected to be among the hardest-hit federal agencies as a hiring freeze takes effect, which is expected to result in up to an additional 1,000 vacancies by Memorial Day Weekend and up to 2,600 vacancies by the end of the fiscal year.

Those reductions could mean that during busy travel periods, wait times exceeding 40 minutes could double at nearly all of nation’s largest airports.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned travelers can expect longer lines for TSA screening and Customs inspections at LAX and other airports nationwide.

“If you’re traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would; there’s only so much we can do with personnel,” Napolitano said. “And please don’t yell at the Customs officers or the TSA officers, they are not responsible for sequester.”

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