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Transit Advocacy

Transit Industry Asks Congress to Quadruple Annual Security Funding

7:01 AM PDT on April 22, 2010

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the D.C.
lobbying arm for much of the transit industry, today asked the House
committee in charge of homeland security spending for $1.1 billion next
year to beef up rail and bus security, a four-fold increase over the
level that Congress approved for 2010.

APTA
president William Millar told members of the House appropriations
committee that a recent survey of member agencies' unmet security needs
totaled $6.4 billion, or nearly twice as much money authorized in the 2007 law that codified the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

“Public transportation systems
have taken many steps to improve security,"Millar said, "but almost 9 years since 9/11, we
still need significant investment in order to protect our citizens who take 35
million trips each weekday on the nation’s public transit systems.”  

In
the 2010 fiscal year, federal funding for transit security upgrades
totaled $253 million, according to APTA. After last month's fatal
terrorist attacks on the Moscow subway system, several U.S. cities escalated security along their rail lines, but even the largest transit agencies in the nation are short of underground cameras and other monitoring equipment.

Millar
carefully contrasted the federal government's focus on aviation
security with the requirements of securing local surface transport
networks. "[T]he scope and scale of the disproportionate attention and
dedication of
resources to one mode of travel over all others is hard to ignore," he
said, observing that the estimated 35 million daily trips on U.S.
transit last year -- or 10.2 billion in total -- amount to about 18 times the numbers of daily airline boardings.

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