Railroads Rack Up $380M in Federal Grants

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded $380.1 million for transit security as part of its Infrastructure Protection Activities (IPA) grant program.

The grants will be used to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies.

“With this year’s funding, the department will have provided roughly $3 billion in grants for securing the nation’s critical infrastructure and transportation systems,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said. “As capabilities mature, we’re encouraging state and local governments and the private sector to prioritize IED prevention and protection, communications capabilities, information sharing, and regionally based security cooperation.”

According to DHS, the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) supports sustainable, risk-based efforts to protect critical transit infrastructure, particularly against explosives and non-conventional threats that could cause major disruption to commerce and significant loss of life.

Freight Rail Security Grant Program: $4.9 million

The Freight Rail Security Grant Program (FRSGP) provides awards to railroad operators that transport security-sensitive materials through high-density population areas. This is the first year of funding for the FRSGP, which will prioritize the development of vulnerability assessments and security plans, as well as security training of railroad front-line employees.

Intercity Passenger Rail Program: $25 million

The Intercity Passenger Rail Program (IPRP) will fund the National Passenger Railroad Corporation (Amtrak) to harden underground and underwater track and tunnels against IEDs, train key employees in counter-terrorism, and expand visible deterrence activities. DHS has provided more than $50 million in IPRP grants since 2005.

“Our inner city passenger rail Amtrak grant program has nearly doubled this year as compared to last year from $13.5 million to about $25 million,” Chertoff said.