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WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration is cutting back on top management at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and Reps. Brian Higgins and Chris Collins aren’t happy about it.

The two local lawmakers are calling on the TSA to reverse a recent unannounced decision to develop a “hub-and-spoke” system for its management team that would reduce operations in Buffalo.

Under the change, the airports in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse will no longer have a “federal security director” on-site to lead operations. Instead, the federal security director would be based in Albany.

“This process will result in reduced costs and more effective operations,” TSA staffers said in a memo to Higgins. “The intent is to impact as few employees as possible while working to reach long-term staffing goals at the airports affected.”

The congressmen said the move made no sense, given that the Buffalo airport sees twice as much passenger traffic at the one in Albany.

“It appears that TSA chose another airport arbitrarily because it is located in the state capital without a good understanding of its location or fair consideration of Buffalo Niagara’s volume,” said Higgins, D-Buffalo, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “A simple look at the numbers, security factors and unique characteristics of this facility as a border airport should make Buffalo the clear choice as a hub.”

Collins, R-Clarence, agreed. “Given the passenger and flight volume at the Buffalo Niagara airport, the fact that it is a border airport which requires more complicated TSA work, and the federal law enforcement resources located in Buffalo, I urge TSA to let Buffalo remain the hub for upstate New York.”

email: jzremski@buffnews.com