From: The Honorable Mark Takano
Sent By:
andrew.ginsburg@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/28/2017

 
Deadline Thursday, March 30; Sign on
Here 
Supported by:
American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
Current Signers (68):  Swalwell, Norton, Hastings, Quigley, Nadler, Keating, Capuano, Rice, Sinema, Lewis (John), Kelly, Tsongas,
Sires, Pascrell, Beyer, Connolly, Lynch, Thompson (Bennie), Velazquez, Takano, Soto, Maloney (Carolyn), Clarke, Cardenas, Engel, DeGette, Lipinski, Speier, Jackson Lee, Davis (Danny), Delaney, Blumenauer, Payne, Rush, Veasey, Watson Coleman, DeSaulnier, Lee,
Schakowsky, Scott (David), Meeks, Scott (Bobby), Schneider, Suozzi, Cummings, Shea-Porter, Vargas, Pallone, Maloney (Sean Patrick), McNerney, Gottheimer, Himes, Boyle, Napolitano, Crowley, Foster, Carbajal, McEachin, Raskin, Lofgren, Gabbard, Jeffries, Esty,
Donovan, McGovern, Lowenthal, Larsen, Brown
March 28, 2017
Dear Colleague:
I urge you to sign the letter below asking for robust funding for the applicable account which funds the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) in the Department of Homeland
Security fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations legislation.  It also asks that TSGP be kept as a distinctly funded program.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, there were 10.6 billion passenger trips on mass transit in 2015 in the United States, covering all types of
passenger rail and bus systems.  The number of persons using these transportation mechanisms, the ease with which people can enter and exit them, and their being located in urbanized areas, among other factors, make them prime targets.  Terrorists are well
aware of these facts and have attacked such systems many times, such as in the high-profile, deadly transit explosions in Madrid, in 2004, London, in 2005, and Brussels, in 2016.
TSGP is a competitive grant program administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which eligible public transit agencies, certain of those operating
bus, rail, and ferry systems, can obtain needed funds to help them secure their operations.  Such funds can be used for a variety of measures, including operational activities like surveillance and asset protection like tunnel hardening.
TSGP also must be kept as a separately supported initiative.  Some in the past have proposed combining multiple homeland security grant programs, including TSGP, into one
larger preparedness grant.  We should keep TSGP distinct, for if it is included in a larger, multi-purpose program, we would risk not providing a minimum level of funding for mass transit security.  We also would be delegating what should be a decision for
Congress – the level of funding appropriate for this critical priority.
I understand the fiscal constraints facing our nation.  However, we have no higher responsibility than keeping the American people safe.  And, funds spent now to protect
mass transit from terrorists could save a much larger cost in terms of lives, physical damage, and economic harm in the future should an attack occur.
If you have any questions, please contact Andrew Ginsburg at
andrew.ginsburg@mail.house.gov.  If you would like to sign on,
please fill out this form.  The deadline is Thursday, March 30.
Sincerely,
/s
Eric Swalwell
Member of Congress
April __, 2017
The Honorable John Carter                      The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
Chairman                                                  Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Homeland Security      Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Committee on Appropriations                  Committee on Appropriations
B-307 Rayburn House Office Building    1016 Longworth House Office Building
United States House of Representatives   United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515                             Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Roybal-Allard:
As you prepare fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations legislation for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we respectfully request robust funding for the applicable
account which provides funding for the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP).  We also ask that TSGP not be combined with other grant programs.
We understand the Committee is under difficult funding constraints and agree that taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely.  However, significant threats to the safety of our
homeland remain.  Federal funding must be continued at a sufficient amount to ensure security for the American people.
One sector which is heavily utilized and has unique security challenges is mass transit.  There were over 10.6 billion passenger trips on mass transit in 2015 in the United
States, covering all types of passenger rail and bus systems, according to the American Public Transportation Association.  Americans should not fear riding the rails or boarding busses.
An attack on any of these systems could kill thousands, flood rail tunnels and stations, and cripple major metropolitan areas.  And, the open and porous nature of mass transit
systems makes them especially vulnerable.  Terrorists are well aware of these facts and have targeted such entities many times, such as in the high-profile, deadly attacks in Madrid, in 2004, London, in 2005, and Brussels, in 2016.
In June 2009, the General Accountability Office summarized the issues facing mass transit security, writing the following:
According to [the Transportation Security Administration], transit officials, and transit experts, certain characteristics of mass transit systems, such as multiple access
points and limited barriers to access, make them inherently vulnerable to terrorist attack and therefore difficult to secure. High ridership, expensive infrastructure, economic importance, and location in large metropolitan areas or tourist destinations also
make them attractive targets for terrorists because of the potential for mass casualties and economic damage.
The special challenges in securing mass transit systems and the potential disaster that could occur from an attack mean we have to be extra cognizant of providing the necessary
resources for this transportation sector.  One way the federal government addresses this serious security threat is through TSGP. 
TSGP is a competitive grant program administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with funds going to the owners and operators of transit systems.  Funding is
made available for these entities to secure their infrastructure and otherwise protect against terrorist attacks.  Examples of possible uses for TSGP awards include surveillance training, public awareness campaigns, detection equipment, security cameras, and
the hardening of infrastructure.
Additionally, we oppose consolidating TSGP into any larger, multi-purpose homeland security grant program as has been proposed by some in the past.  Including TSGP in this
manner and requiring mass transit security needs to be pitted against other homeland security challenges could mean mass transit security is not properly funded.  Moreover, it is incumbent on Congress to make security for public transit a priority, and we
do so in part by providing a distinct funding stream for TSGP.
In sum, we understand that the current budget climate makes funding choices difficult.  However, we request that you keep in mind the consequences of failing to commit sufficient
resources to protect mass transit systems used daily by millions of Americans.  The small amount of money spent now could be dwarfed by the savings in lives and damage by preventing a horrific attack. 
We ask that robust funding be provided for the applicable account which funds TSGP and that it be provided for as a separately funded program in the FY 2018 appropriations
bill for DHS.  Thank you for your consideration of our request.
Sincerely,