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Transit Industry Asks Congress to Quadruple Annual Security Funding

3:00 PM PDT on April 21, 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
along their rail lines, but even the largest transit
agencies in the nation are short of underground
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
in total -- amount to about 18 times the numbers of daily
airline boardings.

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