$2.9 million Earmarked to Boost BART Security

Aug. 23--Bay Area Rapid Transit officials will get $2.9 million in federal homeland security funding to address a "unique vulnerability" in the transit system, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today.

The specific plans for increasing security on BART are classified. But officials are most interested in minimizing the risk to BART's tunnels, including the Transbay Tube that stretches between San Francisco and Oakland, said Lynette Sweet, the vice president of the BART board of directors.

The allocation followed an appeal from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, who wrote a letter to the governor asking for money to shore up BART security.

Getting the funding this year was key, Sweet said, because BART is about to start its seismic retrofit.

"If we do our seismic retrofit and do our security enhancements at the same time, we could save millions of dollars," she said. "It's less intrusive if we do everything at one time."

The grant comes from federal homeland security funding, including money from the Bay Area's Urban Area Security Initiative award. The Bay Area -- including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose -- received $28.3 million this year, and state officials are allowed to distribute up to 20 percent of that to projects of their choice within the area.

In a news release announcing the allocation, Schwarzenegger stressed the importance of improving security on public transit following high-profile attacks on trains in London, Madrid and Mumbai.

"Public safety is my No. 1 priority, and with the 5-year anniversary of 9-11 less than a month away and subsequent terror attacks in cities around the world, we need to always remain vigilant and continue to strengthen the security of all potential targets," Schwarzenegger said in the news release.

Contact Kimra McPherson at or (408) 920-5928.

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