Rep. McCaul asking for Homeland Security funding for Austin F1 race


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 22 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- One day after Circuit of the Americas hosted a ceremonial first lap ceremony, a panel of state, local and federal officials met to discuss how they'll handle security race weekend.

Federal officials, including customs and airport security, met with the Travis County sheriff, Austin's police and fire chiefs, and the mayor at Austin City Hall.

"The eyes of the world are going to be on us," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

All the agencies say they are confident with their security plans; they couldn't divulge the specifics because of security reasons. Nonetheless, Congressman Michael McCaul will ask for more federal help. He is the chairman of the Oversight Committee on Homeland Security Operations.

"I'll be pursuing, with the secretary of Homeland Security, additional federal resources for the city of Austin," McCaul said.

Mike Scott is the Federal Security Director for the Transportation Security Administration. His agency is working with the Austin airport to safely handle the expected 20,000 to 30,000 additional international travelers expected that week.

Scott says the airport "built a four-lane checkpoint, an addition to the three checkpoints [they] have. TSA is sending in the equipment to set the checkpoints up, and they're also sending in personnel to staff that checkpoint."

Jeffrey Baldwin helps ensures safety at high profile events around the world like the Super Bowl, and even events where the president attends. He's the director of Field Operations with Customs and Border Protections. Baldwin's crew will inspect cargo and the Formula 1 cars shipped in for the race.

"We'll the be ones, we'll be processing and clearing those, so we will be bringing in additional staff to makes sure we can handle that traffic," Baldwin said.

The 2012 Formula 1 series began in March in Australia. From there, the same 12 teams of drivers have traveled around the world. This weekend's race is in India, the following one is in Abu Dhabi. Then the 19th race is Nov. 18 in Austin.