Schumer: New Finding Shows New York Dramatically Shortchanged In Mass Transit Security Funding Over Past 3 Years, NY Share Cut In Half
Since 9/11 the MTA Has Accrued Almost a Billion Dollars in Security Related Expenses, Feds have Paid for Less than a QuarterSchumer: Recent Threats should be a Wake-Up Call for Increased Federal Efforts Transit has become the Terrorist Target of ChoiceFor Every Seven Dollars Spent on Every Airline Passenger Just Over a Penny is Spent for Every Mass Transit or Rail Passenger
Even amid recent reports of the most specific terror threat to New York since 911, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer revealed a troubling finding: New Yorks share of federal mass transit security funding has shrunk by nearly half over the past few years. Schumer, standing at the Union Square subway station, explained that the recent terror threats, though not at the highest level of credibility should serve as yet another wakeup call. With New York City having ramped up their security at subways stations, the Senator discussed how subway and rail stations will require significantly more funding. To combat the scenario Schumer called on Michael Chertoff to increase New Yorks share of the funding and to increase the amount allocated for mass transit security for the entire nation.
The bottom line is, the soft underbelly of buses and subways and railroads are fully exposed to terrorist attacks, unless we take real steps to beef up mass transit security immediately, Schumer said. The fact remains that New York doesnt have the resources available to do what it needs to bring our mass transit system up to snuff security wise. Its time that the Feds deliver to New York.
Since 9/11, the MTA has accrued $880 million in additional securityrelated expenses. The money is being allocated in two ways, the first is $288 million worth of immediate measures including:
" Hiring 200 extra police officers, total cost through 2005 is $56 million.
" Hiring 261 additional Bridge & Tunnel offices, total cost through 2005 is $101 million.
" Created the MTA PD Emergency Services Unit and Canine Unit, total cost $6 million.
" Security fencing, lighting, barriers, radios, biochem detection systems and protective gear $53 million.
" Overtime for NYPD, MTA PD and Bridge & Tunnel office, deployment of 155 platform conductors, acquiring 10 more bomb dogs 35 in total, total cost $10 million.
" Installing recording cameras in 100 key stations and a pilot program to put cameras on bus routes $25 million.
The MTA can use Federal Mass Transit Security Grants to cover some of the expenses listed above. They cannot use them to cover police overtime and, until Senator Schumer called for a change last month, they couldnt use them for bomb dogs. They can now.
The MTA also has approximately $591 million in longterm needs for infrastructure hardening and electronic security in four major categories.
" Perimeter protection $25 million
" Structural hardening $221 million
" Electronic Security $265 million
" Fire/Life Safety $80 million
Over Fiscal Years 20032005, the New York City regions transportation agencies (MTA, NJ Transit, PATH, NYCDOT and SI Railway), have received a total $85.2 million in Federal Mass Transit Security Grants, with approximately $73.7 million going solely to the MTAs agencies NYC Subway, LIRR and MetroNorth. The NYC regions total share of those grants nationwide has dropped each year.
The chart below shows how New Yorks share of mass transit security funding has shrunk by nearly half in the past three years, going from 46% of the entire federal pot to 26%. The MTA Share has shrunk for 43.2% to 21.6 percent.
FY03 FY04 FY05 FY06
Nationwide $65.0 m $50.0 m $141.0 m $150.0 m
NYC Region* $30.1 m $17.5 m $37.6 m
NYC Region share 46.3 % 35.0 % 26.7 %
MTA only $28.7 m $15.4 m $30.5 m
MTA share 43.2 % 30.8 % 21.6 %
*Includes MTA, NJ Transit, PATH, NYCDOT and SI Railway
The MTA carries about a third of the nations transit riders, but last year received less than a quarter of the Mass Transit Security Funds.
Schumer today called on the Department of Homeland Security to increase New Yorks Share of mass transit security funding when the allocations are announced over the next few months. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Schumer wrote The MTA carries a third of the nations transit riders, and year after year these riders are getting shortchanged when it comes to security. I respectfully ask that when you allocate the Mass Transit Security grants this year, that you will give New York at least one third of the nationwide total so that we can keep our riders safe. I do not think it makes sense that the transit system under the greatest threat should loose out year after year.
Schumer also called on Chertoff to quadruple the nationwide total for Mass Transit Security for next year.
For every seven dollars we spend on every airline passenger we spend just over a penny for every mass transit or rail passenger, Schumer said today. Transit has become the terrorist target of choice and these recent threats should serve as a wakeup call.
In July, Schumer, with a bipartisan coalition of Senators, offered an amendment to the FY2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill which would have given $1.16 billion total for mass transit security. The amendment was not endorsed by the administration and, though it obtained majority support in the Senate, it was still rejected by a vote of 5345, which fell short of the 60 votes needed to waive the budget cap. The House passed Homeland Security appropriations bill included $50 million more mass transit security than the Senate passed $100 million. The Homeland Security Appropriations Conference report passed the Senate on Friday and included $150 million for mass transit security grants.
Schumer has repeatedly urged the Administration to augment rail and mass transit security. Schumer called for the federal government to accelerate the development of detectors for rail and subway stations. Currently, individual transportation systems in major U.S. cities are developing their own detection devices, but Schumer said today that a coordinated effort funded by the federal government is needed to overcome the many technological barriers that face scientists and engineers working on such systems.
Schumer is also a lead sponsor of the Transportation Security Improvements Act of 2005 (S.1052, 109th) which would spend over $750 million over three years for rail/bus security, along with billions more dollars to beef up security for all modes of transportation across the county.
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