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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA pegs federal grant for security upgrades, considers creating safety committee


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) plans to use an $18.6 million Transit Security Grant Program award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enhance security at Metrorail yards and on buses.

The grant will fund a variety of projects, including the installation of additional security cameras to better monitor activities in and around rail yards, more restrictive fencing designed to keep unauthorized individuals from entering the yards and brighter lighting to aid surveillance efforts.

Meanwhile, WMATA’s customer service, operations and safety committee has recommended that the board establish a safety and security committee and adopt a new mission statement that “clearly places safety at the forefront of the transit agency,” WMATA officials said in a prepared statement.

The actions would demonstrate the agency’s commitment to safety and address a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board for increased safety oversight by WMATA’s board, they said.

The proposed new mission statement would read, “Metro operates and maintains a safe, reliable and effective transit system that enhances mobility, improves the quality of life and stimulates economic development in the Washington metropolitan area.”

The new committee would meet monthly and make recommendations for the board on safety, security and police operations.

The board is expected to vote on the recommendations at a Sept. 30 meeting.