Sending Office: Honorable Eric Swalwell
Request for Signature(s)
Sign Letter Supporting Mass Transit Security in FY 2019!
Signers (80): Swalwell, Lipinski, Engel, Peters, Norton, DeLauro, Speier, Clarke, Brown (Anthony), Quigley, Carson,
Napolitano, Hastings, Watson Coleman, Cummings, Rice, Jayapal, Foster, Delaney, Lowenthal, Takano, Lynch, Blumenauer, McEachin, Schakowsky, Payne, Jr., Larsen, DeSaulnier, Gottheimer, Vargas, Schneider, Nadler, Garamendi, Capuano, Tsongas, Sanchez, Scott (David),
Brady (Robert), Velazquez, Grijalva, Moore, Raskin, Torres, Soto, Sires, Cardenas, Maloney (Sean Patrick), Davis (Danny), Boyle, Gutierrez, Jeffries, Jackson Lee, Veasey, Lofgren, Lee, Cohen, Meeks, DeGette, Bera, Sinema, Espaillat, Chu, Gomez, Pallone, Jr.,
Barragan, Lewis, Bustos, Pascrell, Jr., Eshoo, Keating, Kelly, Thompson (Bennie), Esty, Connolly, Adams, Suozzi, Maloney (Carolyn), Matsui, McGovern
New Deadline: Thursday, March 15
March 13, 2018
I urge you to sign the letter below asking the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to reject President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the Transit Security Grant
Program (TSGP) in the Department of Homeland Security fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bill and continue stable funding at $100 million.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, there almost 10.4 billion passenger trips on mass transit in 2016 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.
President Trump’s FY 2019 budget proposes only $36.358 million for TSGP. While I understand the fiscal constraints facing our nation, 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. Thus we cannot afford to devastate TSGP as President
Trump has proposed and should continue it at is historic level of $100 million.
Member of Congress
March __, 2018
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) 2019 appropriations legislation for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we respectfully request you reject President Trump’s proposal to
slash funding for the applicable account which provides funding for the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) and instead continue to fund it at $100 million.
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 almost 10.4 billion passenger trips on mass transit in 2016 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.
President Trump’s FY 2019 budget proposes only $36.358 million for TSGP. While we recognize that the current budget climate makes funding choices difficult, we urge you to 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 thus ask that you reject President Trump’s request for a drastic reduction in TSGP funding and instead provide $100 million in FY 2019, which is what the program has received
in recent years. Thank you for your consideration.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0