March 29, 2007

Dodd Transit Security Priority Receives New Resources

Senate Approves Funds to Better Protect Transit Systems

Continuing his fight to protect Americans from the threat of terrorism, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) today announced that the Senate has approved an additional $625 million in new resources to help improve transit and rail security and safety nationwide. The funding, approved as part of the Supplemental Appropriations measure approved today, is in addition to the $175 million approved last month as part of the Fiscal Year 2007 budget. The $800 million total is more than all of the funding appropriated by the Congress for transit security since the tragedy of 9-11. “It is vital that we provide these critically important resources to better protect our public transit systems,” said Dodd. “Millions of Americans – each and every day -- step onto buses and trains to go to work, school and other destinations, and they deserve better protection. These resources can help make a difference.” Senator Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, recently successfully won Senate approval for a measure passed out of his committee that authorizes additional resources -- $3.5 billion over the next three years -- distributed on the basis of risk, directly to public transit systems to better protect against terrorist attacks and mitigate the damage from any attack. The measure was the first legislation to move through the Banking Committee and was approved unanimously on February 8. It was later approved by the full Senate on March 14th as part of comprehensive 9-11 legislation. The House this week also approved a transit security measure, which will need to be reconciled with the Banking Committee legislation. Chairman Dodd’s bill includes the following provisions: Security Assessments The Federal Transit Administration, with the Department of Homeland Security, will conduct security assessments to establish improvements for each transit system. These assessments will be used to establish a process for developing security guidelines and designing a security strategy that minimizes the potential for terrorist threats and maximizes efforts to mitigate damage from attacks. Security Assistance Grants Public transportation agencies will be awarded grants for security measures such as tunnel protection systems, perimeter protection systems, fire protection equipment, closed circuit television monitoring systems, and security training for transit employees. Intelligence Sharing Sufficient financial assistance will be provided for the Information Sharing and Analysis Center for Public Transportation (ISAC), in which all transit agencies are encouraged to participate and some are required. No transit agency will be charged a fee to participate in the ISAC, to prevent cost from being a reason not to participate. Research, Development, and Demonstration Grants and Contracts Grants will be provided to public and private entities to conduct research into technology or methods of deterring and mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks.