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Tuesday, April 23, 2013    

APTA's Melaniphy calls for more federal investment in transit security


American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy is calling for greater transit security funding in the wake of the bombings in Boston.

Public transit systems across the country stepped up security after the bombings that occurred last week during the Boston Marathon, Melaniphy said in a prepared statement.

"As these steps have been taken to protect riders and transit employees, there has been much national dialogue regarding the vulnerability of public transportation systems to similar attacks," he said. And, during the past several federal budget cycles, APTA has urged Congress to increase funding for transportation security.

However, past appropriations have not come close to the levels called for implementation of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations, Melaniphy said.

"From 2010 to 2012, federal investment in transit security decreased by 65 percent, while public transportation ridership increased by 300 million trips. This represents a drop from a FY2010 investment of $253 million to a FY2012 investment of $87.5 million," he said.

As transit ridership grows, security issues and risks also increase, he added.

"While no measures can prevent an attack on our open public transit systems with 100 percent certainty, public transit agencies desperately need greater investments for strengthening of critical public transit infrastructure," Melaniphy said.

Such investments include physical security enhancements, state-of-the-art surveillance, explosive and chemical detection, enhanced communications technology, anti-terrorism patrol teams, first responder training and public education campaigns, he said.

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