Additional Security Funds Possible

WASHINGTON — Additional security grant funds for transit systems are likely as a result in increases in FY08 Department of Homeland Security appropriation bills that are pending in Congress.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted June 14 to approve the FY08 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, which includes $400 million for rail/transit security grants — more than the double the amount contained in last year’s bill.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved its version of the bill, which also contained $400 million for its rail/transit security grant program.

“The availability of additional funds will allow us to put more high priority protective measures in place, such as improving communications between our operators, customers, and first responders, enhancing our biological and chemical detection capabilities and enabling us to restore rail or bus service more quickly in the event of an incident in our system,” said Polly Hanson, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Assistant General Manager for Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness.

“We look forward to working with the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the approval process for the use of these funds once the final bill is enacted into law,” Hanson added.

Final spending levels for the 2008 Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill will likely be decided in the fall once differences between the two bills and the executive branch are reconciled.

— Special to News Wire