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American Public Transportation Association

Transit News

9/9/2011

Contact:

Virginia Miller
202-496-4816
vmiller@apta.com

Congress and the Obama Administration Need to Make Security on Public Transportation Systems a Priority as Threats Continue

Statement by William Millar, President American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

“As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11, public transportation systems around the country remember the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred ten years ago.  Public transit systems will be participating in the nationwide Moment of Remembrance that will take place on September 11 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Now is a time to recommit to our need to be vigilant and to make sure that much needed security resources, including those for public transportation systems, are well-funded. We have always known that transportation is the terrorists’ favorite target.  A 2002 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated that ‘about one-third of terrorist attacks worldwide target transportation systems, and transit systems are the mode most commonly attacked.’  Experience since then has done nothing to alter that finding.

Based on a survey of public transportation systems that was released last year, U.S. public transportation systems need $6.4 billion over five years to meet transit security needs.  At a time when we should be investing in more security, Congress reduced transit security funding for FY 11 by $50 million, leaving only $250 million for transit and rail security needs – continuing a decline in transit security investment in recent years.  The Obama Administration proposed $300 million for transit and rail security in FY 12 and both the House and the Senate have proposed cuts in transit security funding in FY 12.

These levels of investment are unacceptable.  The 9-11 Commission Act recognized the need for increasing investment in transit security and authorized funding at the following levels:  $650 million (FY 08), $750 million (FY 09), $900 million (FY 10), and $1.1 billion (FY 11) or $3.4 billion over four years. In fact, over the past four years, Congress has only appropriated $1.5 billion – less than half of the funding authorized by the 9-11 Commission Act.

Public transportation systems are doing their part and are on high alert with this current threat against New York City and Washington, D.C.  Now it is time for Congress and the Obama Administration to do their part to change course, make transit security a top priority, and pass and sign legislation that dramatically increases transit security investment.”

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 The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.  More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.


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