BART applauds effort to increase transit security funding
By Ari Burack, Bay City News Service
July 20, 2006
Bay Area Rapid Transit officials this week praised a bipartisan
congressional effort to increase federal funding for transit security.
A statement from BART spokesman Linton Johnson recognized the
approval of the Public Transportation Security Assistance Act
of 2006 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
as a "bold'' step toward the goal of being able to better
protect passengers from a terrorist attack.
The bipartisan committee includes U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut
The act, if passed by Congress, would allow the Department of
Transportation to distribute nearly $3.4 billion in grants over
three years to transit systems throughout the country, through
a fund separate from the one currently managed by the Department
of Homeland Security, Johnson said.
Johnson said Tauscher and some of her colleagues included language
in an amendment of the act to ensure that funds would be allocated
"based on risk, consequences, vulnerability and threat.''
According to BART board Vice President Lynette Sweet, the California
Department of Homeland Security lists BART as one of the state's
top 10 terrorism targets.
"For years BART has been pushing hard to get administrators
in Washington to allocate transit security based on risk and threat,
not politics,'' Sweet said. "We at BART owe a great deal
of thanks to Congresswoman Tauscher for amending the bill so that
high-risk transit systems like BART will get what they need from
these new transit security dollars.''
According to BART, the U.S. government distributes $150 million
each year to the nation's 6,000 transit providers for counter-terrorism
BART officials estimate that BART's counter-terrorism needs alone
exceed $250 million. Tauscher said in a statement, "It is
not enough to simply spend funds; we must distribute them logically
so that large transit systems such as BART in my district and
others in major metropolitan areas can offer security to the millions
of riders that depend on them daily.''
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