APTA President William Millar Statement to the Senate

Millar gives APTA stance on rail security to Committee on Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs


Transit authorities have significant and specific transit security needs. Based on APTA's 2003 Infrastructure Database survey, over 2,000 rail stations do not have security cameras. According to our 2005 Transit Vehicle Database, 53,000 buses, over 5,000 commuter rail cars, and over 10,000 heavy rail cars do not have security cameras. Less than one-half of all buses have automatic vehicle locator systems (AVLs) that allow dispatchers to know the location of the bus if an emergency occurs. Nearly 75 percent of demand response vehicles lack these AVLs. Furthermore, no transit system has a permanent biological detection system. In addition, only two transit authorities have a permanent chemical detection system. A more robust partnership with the federal government could help to better address many of these specific needs.

We are disappointed that the Administration proposed only $600 million for a Targeted Infrastructure Protection Program in last year's FY 2007 DHS budget proposal, which would fund infrastructure security grants for transit, seaports, railways and other facilities. We are also disappointed that the Administration failed to include a specific line item funding amount for transit security. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to increase transit security funding and better address unmet transit security needs throughout the country.

APTA is a Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the public transportation industry. We are now applying our growing expertise in standards development to transit industry safety and security, best practices, guidelines and standards. We have already begun to initiate our efforts for security standards development and we have engaged our federal partners from both the DHS and Department of Transportation in this process. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress in support of this initiative. Unfortunately, DHS has not agreed to provide funding to APTA in this effort. We respectfully urge Congress to provide $500,000 to the DHS so that it can in turn provide that amount in grant funding to the APTA security standards program which includes participation of our federal partners to assist with the development of such standards and practices consistent with what we have already seen through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Our efforts in standards development for commuter rail, rail transit and bus transit operations have been significant and our status as a SDO is acknowledged by both the FTA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The FTA and the Transportation Research Board have supported our standards initiatives through the provision of grants.

We also would like to work with Congress and the Department of Homeland Security's Directorate of Science and Technology to take a leadership role in advancing research and technology development to enhance security and emergency preparedness for public transportation.

INFORMATION SHARING

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, public transit systems across the country have worked very hard to strengthen their security plans and procedures. They have also been very active in training personnel and conducting drills to test their capacity to respond to emergencies. Also, to the extent possible within their respective budgets, transit systems have been incrementally hardening their facilities through the introduction of additional technologies such as surveillance equipment, access control and intrusion detection systems. While transit systems have been diligent, they have been unable to fully implement programs with the current levels of assistance from the federal government.