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On the Hill, APTA's Millar calls for $2 billion in transit security funding


On April 19, an official for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) called on Congress to provide $2 billion in the FY2005 Homeland Security Appropriations bill to improve security for U.S. transit riders.

In written testimony to the House and Senate Subcommittees on Homeland Security Appropriations, APTA President William Millar asked that $1.2 billion be provided for capital security needs and another $800 million for security-related operating costs.

"We can't wait for another wake up call," Millar said. "The Bush Administration and Congress need to act now to ensure safety for the millions of people who depend on public transportation."

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the aviation industry has received $11 billion from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for security funding; DHS has earmarked $115 million for transit agencies.

In a recent security survey, APTA members identified $6 billion in unmet transit security needs, including $5.2 billion to maintain, modernize and expand transit security capital needs. It also indicated that transit agencies need more than $800 million annually for security operation costs.

"Allocating $2 billion into next year's DHS budget is a necessary step forward towards helping America's public transportation providers keep their riders safe," said Millar, adding that public transit agencies have already spent $1.7 billion on transit security out since 9-11, from customers fares and local tax sources.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/20/2004