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The federal government has awarded $22.7 million to three New York transportation authorities to support counterterrorism efforts, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday.The money will be used to harden infrastructure, as well as for planning, training and exercise activities, according to a press release issued by Cuomo's office.One of the awardees is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which received $22.4 million through the federal Transit Security Grant Program. The funding includes $7 million for the New York City Police Department's patrol and protection of the subway system.The remaining funds were divided between the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which was awarded $153,300, and the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, which received $25,000. "New York's transit system is among the busiest in the world, and ongoing federal support means that New York’s buses and subways, and the Metro-North train system, will be able to continue to build out training, security infrastructure, and a robust response capability," said U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in the release.Meanwhile, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) announced that more than 250 of its employees last week took part in its "First Observer Plus" terrorism awareness training course. Administered by the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the course advises transportation professionals to observe, assess and report potential terrorist activity. "The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has been at the forefront of implementing highly effective security measures," said Sonya Proctor, surface division director in the TSA's Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, in a press release. "The training exercise MTS conducted for all of its security officers and many of its rank-and-file employees is another important step to help stop an act of terrorism before it happens," Proctor added. "The First Observer Plus program is something all transit agencies should consider providing for their employees."
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