Two federal agencies have announced they will make some big decisions on smart ID cards early this year, The Washington Post reports.
The Transportation Security Administration said it will pick a contractor to supply new identification cards for transportation workers soon. The winner would be responsible for screening the backgrounds of about 750,000 workers at airports, seaports and other critical transportation facilities, and issuing them ID cards equipped with microchips.
"We are in the final stages of review of the contract, and we will be issuing an award in the coming weeks," said Darrin Kayser, a spokesman for the TSA.
The new cards were supposed to have been released long ago. President Bush signed legislation mandating the new cards in 2002, and the Homeland Security Department initially said it would begin issuing them by the end of 2003.
And the General Services Administration will next week issue a call for bids on supplying federal employees and contractors with microchip-sporting ID cards. That one's a little odd, since GSA had a $104 million deal with BearingPoint but pulled out just two months into the contract. GSA said the unusual move was was unrelated to BearingPoint's performance but that the agency wanted to reopen the bidding to give the government more options and better prices.
Government agencies have to distribute new standardized cards by 2008, either using GSA's contractor or one of their own.