[Senate Hearing 107-620]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
S. Hrg. 107-620
TRANSIT SAFETY IN THE WAKE OF SEPTEMBER 11
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION
BANKING,HOUSING,AND URBAN AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
THE EXAMINATION OF CERTAIN INITIATIVES TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THE
UNITED STATES TRANSIT SYSTEM IN THE WAKE OF THE RECENT TERRORIST
ATTACKS ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE PENTAGON
OCTOBER 4, 2001
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COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS
PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut PHIL GRAMM, Texas
TIM JOHNSON, South Dakota RICHARD C. SHELBY, Alabama
JACK REED, Rhode Island ROBERT F. BENNETT, Utah
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York WAYNE ALLARD, Colorado
EVAN BAYH, Indiana MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming
ZELL MILLER, Georgia CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware RICK SANTORUM, Pennsylvania
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan JIM BUNNING, Kentucky
JON S. CORZINE, New Jersey MIKE CRAPO, Idaho
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
Steven B. Harris, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
Wayne A. Abernathy, Republican Staff Director
Jonathan Miller, Professional Staff Member
Joseph R. Kolinski, Chief Clerk and Computer Systems Administrator
George E. Whittle, Editor
Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation
JACK REED, Rhode Island, Chairman
WAYNE ALLARD, Colorado, Ranking Member
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware RICK SANTORUM, Pennsylvania
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
JON S. CORZINE, New Jersey RICHARD C. SHELBY, Alabama
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii
Kara M. Stein, Legal Counsel
John Carson, Republican Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2001
Opening statement of Senator Reed................................ 1
Opening statements, comments, or prepared statements of:
Senator Allard............................................... 2
Senator Sarbanes............................................. 20
Senator Stabenow............................................. 30
Senator Corzine.............................................. 30
Jennifer L. Dorn, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation.............................. 4
Prepared statement........................................... 31
Response to written questions of:
Senator Sarbanes......................................... 56
Senator Corzine.......................................... 57
William W. Millar, President, American Public Transportation
Prepared statement........................................... 33
Response to written questions of:
Senator Reed............................................. 59
Senator Allard........................................... 60
Robert A. Molofsky, General Counsel, Amalgamated Transit Union... 14
Prepared statement........................................... 41
Richard A. White, General Manager, Washington Metropolitan Area
Transit Authority.............................................. 16
Prepared statement........................................... 54
TRANSIT SAFETY IN THE WAKE
OF SEPTEMBER 11
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2001
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs,
Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation,
The Subcommittee met at 2:35 p.m., in room SD-538 of the
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator Jack Reed (Chairman of
the Subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR JACK REED
Senator Reed. Let me call this Subcommittee hearing to
Good afternoon. I want to welcome all of you to today's
hearing on transit safety. The safety of our Nation's transit
systems has always been a priority. But the events of September
11 have made it clear that we need to do even more to ensure
the safety of transit riders and operators.
I would caution everyone that the intent of today's hearing
is not to raise new fears in the minds of Americans. It only
seems prudent, however, to ask our witnesses and my colleagues
to focus not on the ultimate worst-case scenarios or what a
specific system's response plans are, because to do so could
unwittingly aid the very people we are seeking to thwart.
We also know from yesterday's Greyhound Bus incident that
our transportation system faces lethal threats from apparent
nonterrorists as well. And it is important to note that while
rail systems face a significant threat, our Nation's bus
systems merit increased
I believe this hearing should provide an opportunity to
hear from transit experts on what the threats actually are,
what they plan to do in response to them, what lessons they
have learned from the tragedies of September 11, and what the
Federal Government can do to help ensure that we have the
safest transit system possible.
The hallmark of our Nation's transit system has long been
its safety record, particularly in comparison to other modes of
travel. Moreover, in the wake of the horrific events of
September 11, transit systems in New York and Washington played
an essential role in safely moving thousands of people from the
affected areas. We owe a great debt of gratitude for those
efforts to hard-working men and women in these transit
organizations who helped their fellow Americans in a time of
What is also clear from September 11 is that we have a new
level of threat facing the open society we have cherished since
our Nation's founding. It is encumbent upon all of us to find
new ways to reduce this threat. That effort starts first and
foremost by not retreating from our daily routines and
practices, whether it is riding the subway or going to a
football game, because if we allow ourselves to be frozen with
fear, the terrorists will have achieved one of their goals.
Rather we should do all that we can to address the threat.
That task lies first and foremost with our law enforcement and
intelligence agencies, which have the expertise and the
authority to stop terrorists before they act. Success by these
agencies is the best way to preserve the integrity and safety
of our transportation system. However, at the same time, we
have a responsibility to make sure that if this front-line
defense fails, our transit operators are prepared and ready to
respond. Helping them achieve that goal is what today's hearing
is all about.
And I am glad to report that transit agencies from around
the country, such as the Boston MBTA, which is working on high-
tech biological weapons security systems with MIT, and the
Federal Government, all of these systems are taking concrete
and rapid steps to meet this new threat.
This hearing is the start of a longer process--to develop
new, enhanced security provisions for the reauthorization of
TEA-21, which our Subcommittee will begin considering next
year. As part of that effort, I want to make sure that the
Federal Transit Authority, FTA, has the resources it needs from
the recently passed $40 billion supplemental to help systems
with new capital and operating concerns. The FTA and transit
are indeed part of the President's new Homeland Defense effort,
and we will want to maximize coordination between law
enforcement and transportation officials.
Today, we will hear from two panels of witnesses. The first
panel will consist of Ms. Jennifer Dorn, the new Administrator
of the Federal Transit Administration. For our second panel, we
will hear from three witnesses who have hands-on experience
with the events of September 11 at the Pentagon, and they can
address the steps that transit systems have been taking to
We will be asking all of our witnesses to discuss: First,
the existence and nature of any threats to transit. Second,
efforts underway to address those threats. Third, lessons
learned from the experience of September 11. And fourth,
suggestions for improving transit safety.
Before we hear from Administrator Dorn, I would like to
recognize my colleague and friend, the Ranking Member, Senator
Allard of Colorado.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR WAYNE ALLARD
Senator Allard. Thank you, Senator Reed.
I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this
hearing on transit safety in response to the September 11
terrorist attack in Washington, DC and New York City. It is
crucial at this time to acknowledge and prepare for the fact
that our Nation's skies are not the only possible conduits of
I would agree with your comments, Mr. Chairman, that we do
not want to unnecessarily raise any alarm in the country. But
we need to systematically and thoroughly review what is
happening as far as trying to be prepared for a possible
terrorist attack in all of our transportation systems. I think
it needs to start here in the Committee. So, again, I commend
Indeed, some experts believe that, as aviation targets
become more difficult to exploit, mass transit targets such as
buses and trains may become a more attractive venue for
terrorist activities. We are here today to ensure that this
does not happen.
While all sectors of society are vulnerable to terrorism,
some consider public transportation particularly susceptible,
as rail and bus systems are highly visible and carry large
numbers of people in concentrated spaces along predictable
routes and schedules. Also, in their objective to move large
numbers of people quick and conveniently, transit systems are
easily accessed by the public and therefore, there is
difficulty in ensuring their security.
Since 1998, all rail transit systems, though not bus
systems, have been required by the Federal Government to
prepare and implement a system security program plan. Based on
FTA's guidelines, these plans focus on agency-wide activities
to provide a secure environment for transit customers and
employees, including the prevention and mitigation of terrorist
Our witnesses are here today to discuss potential terrorist
threats to our Nation's transit systems, their efforts, current
and planned, to address those threats, and how their thinking
about transit safety may have changed in the wake of last
month's terrorist attacks. Certainly, the attacks refocus
everyone on the importance of emergency preparedness. However,
being prepared for an emergency involves consideration of far
more than just terrorism. In preparing a good, comprehensive
plan, an agency will also be well-equipped to deal with natural
disasters, medical problems, power failures, and the like.
Although we hope that these events never occur, we must be
prepared for that possibility.
I would like to thank all of our witnesses for being here
today. I look forward to hearing from all of you. Furthermore,
I would like to recognize all the transit officials and
employees who quickly and efficiently helped to evacuate large
numbers of people out of congested areas under the difficult
circumstances following the attacks on September 11. Our thanks
go out to all these dedicated transit employees.
Again, I would like to thank my colleague for holding this
hearing, and I look forward to working with him on this matter.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Senator Allard.
I would now like to recognize our first witness, Ms.
Jennifer Dorn, the FTA's Administrator, who is appearing before
the Subcommittee for the first time. Jennifer has served with
distinction in previous Administrations in senior positions at
the Departments of Transportation and Labor.
Welcome, Ms. Dorn, and we look forward to your testimony.
STATEMENT OF JENNIFER L. DORN
ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Ms. Dorn. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Senator Allard. The
Federal Transit Administration appreciates the opportunity to
talk with you about these important matters.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with transit leaders
in New York City to discuss their public transportation needs
and emergency operations. Like the fire, police, and emergency
medical teams, transit employees have shown both heroism and
incredible resilience as they responded to and helped the city
recover from the terrorism of September 11. It is really
astounding to realize that thanks to the emergency response
plans, clear-thinking, and quick action of transit employees,
no one--no one--riding the PATH or the New York City subway
lines that morning was injured. As you know, literally
thousands of lives were saved.
I have just returned from the American Public
Transportation Association annual conference in Philadelphia.
The fact that the conference was held as planned reflects the
sense of responsibility of the Nation's transit leaders and it
gave all of us in the transit community an important
opportunity to have a number of significant and intense
discussions about safety and security.
I certainly share Secretary Mineta's strong commitment that
the Department has no higher priority than keeping our
communities safe and moving, and the Department is taking
responsible and aggressive action to do just that. Within
minutes of the first plane crash on September 11, the
Department of Transportation's Crisis Management Center went
into action and it continues to provide precise, current,
multimodal information about the Nation's transportation system
directly to the Secretary and, as he sees fit, to the White
In order to respond to the new level of security threats,
within days, Secretary Mineta also created the National
Security Committee--NISC--within the Department of
Transportation. The mission of the NISC is to execute
preemptive, preventative, protective, and recovery efforts for
critical elements of the U.S. national transportation system.
FTA is working with NISC, the States, transit agencies, and
other Federal agencies to identify high-value, high-consequence
transportation operations and structures, as well as their
current protection strategies, and any gaps which may exist.
As we consider a variety of measures to improve security in
our Nation's transportation systems, it is very important that
we keep in mind two fundamental points.
First, that our actions must carefully balance three
important interests. One--and not in any particular order--the
need for security. Two, the need for personal mobility. And
three, the need to maintain economic vitality.
I believe that the second most important fundamental point
to keep in mind is that the Nation's public transportation
system is geographically dispersed within communities, they are
diverse in their delivery mechanisms, and most of all, designed
to meet the unique features and needs of the areas they serve.
Thus, it is very difficult and somewhat unproductive to focus a
cookie-cutter approach on a problem as significant as this
without taking into account the unique attributes of particular
With those points in mind, let me briefly describe the
steps that FTA is taking to enhance the security of the
Nation's public transportation systems.
First, we are stepping up our ongoing efforts to help
transit agencies evaluate the threats and vulnerabilities to
their systems. This way, they can appropriately refine or
develop security and emergency response plans, particularly in
light of the new terrorist reality. Some systems are 100 years
old. They were designed with 19th Century crimes in mind.
Others are brand new, designed with security in mind and
incorporating the latest security technology. No two systems
Second, we plan at the Department of Transportation to
provide assistance to transit agencies as they refine their
emergency response plans in light of their system assessments
and the heightened terrorist threats. These plans serve as
blueprints for action in the wake of an attack and articulate
who will take the specific steps necessary for emergency
FTA also will continue to work with local transit agencies
to conduct full-scale emergency drills to test their plans and
equipment. In my visits with New York and Washington transit
officials, they emphasize how important it was that they had
conducted regular emergency drills--not just fire drills--to
keep skills sharp, update response plans, and build personal
relationships with counterparts in the police, fire, emergency
and health response systems. Although regular drills are
routinely recommended by security experts in FTA and in transit
systems throughout the country, there is nothing like hearing
advice from people who have lived it--literally lived it.
And finally, we will offer additional security training and
workshops throughout the country. Nothing is more important
than training and awareness. We have heard from our colleagues
in Washington and New York and that means employees and riders.
We intend to expand our free security and emergency
response training to incorporate new security strategies and
tactics and to give more local transit employees the
opportunity to attend emergency response training. It is
imperative that we have a transit workforce that understands
security issues and is fully prepared to respond, should an
In addition to these broader plans, many of which are
already underway and have been for some time, next week, FTA
will be mailing to every transit agency nationwide, a security
toolbox that will include resource guidelines, planning tools,
training opportunities and sample public awareness
publications, all at one place, for the ready access of transit
leaders throughout the country who are paying renewed attention
to a renewed threat. We believe these materials will be of
assistance to agencies as they continue to enhance their
efforts for security awareness and emergency response
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Madam Administrator, for
your very fine testimony. Let me ask a few questions before I
turn to my colleague.
As you know, Congress recently passed, and the President
signed, the emergency supplemental appropriations bill totaling
$40 billion in response to the September 11 tragedy.
Transportation security is specifically identified as eligible
for that money. Has the FTA requested funds for that bill for
improved safety and, if not, why not?
Ms. Dorn. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are as we speak,
working directly with the National Infrastructure Security
Committee, that I mentioned, and certainly, that effort is
focused on identifying priority needs within transportation.
There is no question that transportation security will be
addressed. It is a work in progress. I have every confidence
that the Administration and the Department will set appropriate
priorities so that we can enhance the security across the
Senator Reed. From your review today, and also your
discussions with local transit leaders, is it your impression
that they will require additional resources?
Ms. Dorn. I think it is very dependent on local issues.
Certainly, as the New Jersey Commissioner of the Department of
Transportation said to me and to many others at the
Philadelphia conference, there is no way to plan for what
happened, the magnitude is so huge. However, it is imperative
that every agency take a holistic, systematic look at this
issue. And all transit agencies are sorting out the priority
needs. There is never enough to be completely secure. As I have
said in other matters, you cannot wring all of the risk out of
people moving. But I am confident that, together, we will be
able to sort through the priorities that will really make a
Senator Reed. One of the lead agencies, or the premier
agency, for response to a crisis here in the United States is
FEMA. It has the lead role in most cases and it is also charged
with developing a comprehensive national emergency management
system. Does FTA work on a daily regular basis with FEMA?
Ms. Dorn. Absolutely, through both the Crisis Management
Center and in our work with the National Infrastructure
Security Committee, in general, on a day-to-day basis in the
New York area. They are partners in emergency response and how
the necessary funds will be delivered.
Senator Reed. Now as you work through the issues, the
demands for increased resources, are you also reviewing
potential changes in the law that would give you and local
transit agencies more appropriate powers? And if so, can you
share some of those thoughts with us today? Again, we are
preparing ultimately next year for the reauthorization of TEA-
Ms. Dorn. Certainly, Mr. Chairman. The events of September
11 require that everything be put on the table. With our
industry counterparts, our partners in the labor community,
passenger groups, and with the Federal agencies, we are looking
at everything that will make security more effective.
We have to be very cautious, as I mentioned in my opening
remarks, that well-intentioned, aggressive actions do not have
ramifications that we did not anticipate. This is a complicated
I also think that a cooperative approach where indirect
pressure and direct pressure from a variety of sources,
combined with model programs, may well be the solution.
However, we cannot, and should not prescribe that every
mode or every type of transportation should have a specific
mandate for the type of security. The review will show that it
is more complicated than that and we will need to have as
dynamic and relatively complex a system as we do. But
everything is on the table.
Senator Reed. We give much more specific direction to the
rail systems than we do to the bus systems, it is my
understanding. There has been a proposal by the ATU to require
that bus systems meet the same general guidelines with respect
to their operations, the security procedures, and also a
certain percentage of resources devoted to security. Would you
be in favor of imposing those same types of directions on bus
systems as well as rail?
Ms. Dorn. Mr. Chairman, at this point in time, I do not
believe that it is clear that those additional mandates would
be of benefit. That is not to say they would not be on the
table. But I believe that we can thoroughly address the needs
at this point in time through the voluntary security
assessments which FTA offers, combined with the model bus
safety program that is now in its final stages.
I am eager to work with our partners in Labor to ensure
that the model bus safety program helps meet the needs that
they have identified. I believe that it is appropriate to
utilize that avenue first. I know that there is a strong
commitment on the part of APTA and the bus industry to really
take a firm grasp of the importance of this. So, I believe that
we should try that at this point.
Senator Reed. In line with my previous questions, FTA's
Office of Safety and Security develops guidelines, best
practices, provides training, generally performs safety
analysis reviews and audits. Do you believe that your Office of
Safety and Security needs more authority, legislative
authority, to be more effective?
Ms. Dorn. At this point, I could not say that we do. I do
not mean to be repetitive, but in light of the situation,
everything must be on the table.
I feel comfortable, particularly with the heightened
awareness and the responsiveness of industry groups, and the
best practices that are available, and the technical assistance
that we provide, we are doing as good a job as we can in the
Senator Reed. One final question before I turn it over to
In 1997, FTA instituted a voluntary security audit program
for any system at no cost. I wonder how many systems, and if
you do not have this knowledge, it is certainly appropriate to
provide it later, have taken advantage of this audit program?
Have there been an increased number of requests after September
11? And are there any indications from these audits of what is
a consistent weakness across the board in these transit
Ms. Dorn. In partial answer to your question, Mr. Chairman
and I would prefer to be more specific in the record, if I
might, we have over the last three fiscal years conducted 53
voluntary audits, and they range from the smaller transit
agencies to the larger transit agencies. We have completed
about 18 or 19 each year. I am not aware, although our Security
Director, Harry Saporta, may know if we have had any requests
since September 11.
But I am confident that once we make agencies aware of this
service, they may take advantage of it. And as you and I
discussed earlier, agencies, particularly the larger ones, are
taking their own initiative and hiring security firms to help
them assess the most important issues that they need to address
in terms of emergency preparedness, security, and safety.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much.
Senator Allard. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
FTA's Office of Safety and Security, the way I understand
its function, you guide local transit authorities in their
preparation of the systems security program plans. And in
addition to that, if there is a request for an audit, then, on
a volunteer basis, you provide help in that audit. Beyond that,
what sort of oversight, what sort of function do you carry on
with the transit agencies to help assure security?
Ms. Dorn. It actually depends on the mode. But in all
cases, if we get a call for help, we try to accommodate. And if
we cannot, we have contractors who have the expertise so they
We have over 200 safety and security courses offered by the
Transportation Safety Institute. I believe about one-third of
those have a heavy component in security. We are increasing the
number of training workshops within our 2002 budget, so that we
can offer a number of workshops to the smaller agencies on a
And in addition to that, of course, our partners in the
State, if it is a light rail, a heavy rail, or a people mover,
the State has then the oversight authority for ensuring that a
safety and security plan is in place for that type of system.
Senator Allard. Do you interact with those States?
Ms. Dorn. Yes, we do.
Senator Allard. And you are working together on these plans
Ms. Dorn. We do. And every 3 years, we do a State review to
ensure that the State oversight program is up to the level that
we think is important.
Now does that mean that we are completely comfortable and
believe that we are doing everything the way we could? No. Even
those issues are on the table. How can we qualitatively make a
difference in those reviews?
Senator Allard. Now, you mentioned that you handle calls
for help from local transit agencies. Do you get a lot of
calls? Or do you get a few calls? Or a moderate number? Could
you give us some feel as to how often they request help?
Ms. Dorn. It depends on the size of the agency. And many of
those calls would go to our regional offices, where they are
more of the day-to-day partners in technical assistance. There
is definitely a strong attention across the agencies for
security and safety.
Senator Allard. So most of the calls you have gotten have
to do mainly with maintenance and day-to-day operations. You
are not getting calls on helping with security issues.
Ms. Dorn. Not at this point. However, I would mention that,
just as an anecdotal example, at APTA's conference they had
some 1,700 folks at a special session for anyone who wanted to
hear from the New York and Washington folks about lessons
learned and how they could incorporate and enhance their
security. There were 400 to 500 people in that audience. For 2
hours, you could have heard a pin drop and notes were taken.
There is a heightened awareness about the security piece.
Does that mean we have done enough? No. We have to work
together. We have a new normalcy, as Secretary Mineta would
Senator Allard. Now, please describe for us the functions
of and coordination between the Department of Transportation's
Office of Intelligence and Security and FTA's Office of Safety
and Security, as they relate to helping the transit agencies
prepare for and perhaps respond to terrorist threats or
attacks, if that should happen.
Ms. Dorn. Right. Well, there are two ways that we work on a
regular basis with OIS, as you have mentioned. One had been in
place prior to September 11, and that is through the Crisis
Command Center. Every mode is represented, and for the period
of time since September 11, it was on a 24/7 basis. Every mode
is at the table, connected with the Nation's transportation
systems. And OIS is there as well. So they are talking
In addition to that, OIS is on the executive committee of
the Secretary's group that I mentioned, the National
Infrastructure Security Committee, as is FTA. And so, that is
focused on the kinds of problems out there, the gaps, and how
we can fill them in the high priority areas.
Senator Allard. I have never heard of an agency or somebody
representing an agency come here and say that they do not have
enough resources. And perhaps the following question is a
foolish question, but I am going to ask it anyhow. Does FTA's
Office of Safety and Security have the staff and resources it
needs to effectively help State and local transit agencies
prepare and respond to possible terrorist attacks?
Ms. Dorn. I am confident, Senator Allard, that as we work
through this issue with the Office of Management and Budget and
the Secretary, we will have the necessary resources to do the
job that is required.
Senator Allard. I appreciate that response. As you know,
the President recently announced the formation of the Office of
Homeland Security. Do you have any idea what FTA's role might
be as it relates to this new office, and what role the office
will have in transportation? I have not gotten any of those
details. I do not know whether the Chairman has or not. But we
would like to hear what your perception is as you interact with
the Office of Homeland Security.
Ms. Dorn. It is my understanding that the White House is
moving aggressively to outline the specific authorities and the
office structure. There is no question that the mission is
clear, as I have heard and understood it from Secretary Mineta,
and that is to coordinate the Executive Branch's efforts to
detect, prepare for, respond, and recover from acts of global
Senator Allard. But you do not have the details yet.
Ms. Dorn. No, I do not.
Senator Allard. Okay.
Ms. Dorn. But I have every confidence that FTA, through the
Department of Transportation, will have a seat at that table.
It will not work if it is not that way, and I am confident that
Governor Ridge and the President would thoroughly understand
that. That is the purpose of creating it. I am pleased that it
has been created.
Senator Allard. We have some privately owned transportation
systems out there. What role does the Federal Government have
in antiterrorism measures with these transportation systems?
Ms. Dorn. As I understand it, it is the bully pulpit,
primarily, because the hook is usually Federal grant money.
Senator Allard. Okay.
Ms. Dorn. So that is the primary authority. Plus the good
Senator Allard. Do you reach out to them or do you kind of
ask them to reach out to you on a regular basis?
Ms. Dorn. Well, since I have had this position, I have
reached out proactively. That piece of the industry will be,
and should be, a growing part of the Nation's public
transportation system. We need them. We need their counsel. We
need their advice. We need their good business practices.
Senator Allard. Mr. Chairman, I see my time is expired and
I know you are anxious to get to the next panel.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Senator Allard, for your
Madam Administrator, thank you for your testimony. You are
Ms. Dorn. Thank you very much.
Senator Reed. Very well thought-through. We are eager to
know of the results of your deliberations, particularly if it
would result in requesting supplemental funds. We would like to
be an aid to you in getting the resources that you and local
transit authorities need, to make sure they are secure and
protective of the public.
Ms. Dorn. We at the Department of Transportation are eager
to work with this Committee in that regard. And I am confident
I will be calling you.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much.
Now let me call the second panel to the table.
I would like to introduce the witnesses on our second
panel. First, Mr. William Millar has been President of the
American Public Transportation Association since November 1996,
after 24 years in transit operations at the Port Authority of
Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. Bill has long been
a national leader in transit policy. We thank you for joining
Mr. Millar. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Reed. Mr. Robert A. Molofsky is the General Counsel
of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents 175,000
employees in public mass transit, intercity bus, school bus,
para-transit, and van service operations in some 46 States and
throughout the provinces of Canada. Bob has been involved in
the ATU's legal, regulatory, and governmental affairs since
Thank you, Bob, for joining us.
And finally, Mr. Richard A. White is the General Manager of
the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the
regional operator of rapid transit and bus services in the
Greater Washington National Capital Metropolitan Area, and the
fourth largest mass transit system in the United States. Mr.
White has 25 years of transit experience, including several
high-level positions with San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid
Transit district, among others. Mr. White is joined by Chief
Barry McDevitt of the WMATA's police force. And we have a
mutual friend, Chief. That is Beverly Scott, who is the head of
RIPTA in Rhode Island, and she is very proud of what you and
all of your colleagues were able to accomplish, and with your
fellow colleagues in New York City.
I thank you all for joining us.
Before we begin, I would just point out that your written
testimony will be made part of the record. There is no need to
read it, but we will allow you 7 minutes.
Mr. Millar, please begin.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM W. MILLAR, PRESIDENT
AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION
Mr. Millar. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon. I want
to thank you for this opportunity to testify and appear before
you. And I want to say thank you to Senator Allard and to all
the other Members of Congress--how quickly you have responded
to the needs of the Nation after the horrific events of
September 11. We do believe that there is additional
information we could provide to you and to the Committee,
particularly if there is an opportunity, perhaps, for executive
session or private sessions on this.
Mr. Chairman, we believe that the Federal investment that
has been made in the past several years in public
transportation has been paying off in lots of different ways.
And one of those ways is improved safety and security, which I
will discuss in a moment.
That investment has allowed public transportation usage to
grow dramatically in this country, up some 21 percent over the
last several years, and it has enabled our members to upgrade
their systems, improve the safety and security of their systems
in a variety of ways, from upgrading rolling stock to buying
security equipment to building new systems with the latest
design characteristics that are necessary for the best of
safety to be included.
And we think this investment paid enormous dividends on
September 11, when public transportation operators in both the
New York City area and the Washington, DC area helped safely
evacuate citizens from the center city. Indeed, while the
attention is focused on those cities, all across America,
evacuations were underway that day. Transit systems were part
of the emergency response, as they served to carry stranded
travelers from the Nation's airports and as they moved
emergency workers around, and the story goes on and on.
We believe that the response of the transit industry to the
September 11 events shows quite clearly that, just as our
interstate highway system when it was begun by President
Eisenhower, was a national defense interstate highway system,
we think in this new war on terrorism, public transit agencies
are certainly part of the national defense component of this.
We are extremely proud of the way our members throughout the
country, and particularly in the New York and Washington area,
Mr. Chairman, as Administrator Dorn said, through perhaps
fortuitous scheduling, the last few days, much of our industry,
much of the leadership of our industry has been in Philadelphia
for a long ago scheduled annual meeting of our assocation.
Over 2,300 transit leaders from around the country were
present and, needless to say, the agenda we had on September 10
was altered dramatically for the meeting that began on
We were most pleased that Secretary Norman Mineta was able
to come to Philadelphia just 4 days ago to be our keynote
speaker. He emphasized the importance of public transportation
to our Nation and the critical importance of continuing to
focus on safety and security needs.
While he said many memorable things in that speech, there
were some words that stuck out particularly for me. He said:
``Preparation equals performance.''
And I want to assure you that we in the public transit
industry are taking that message to heart. For nearly 20 years,
through the American Public Transportation Association's System
Safety Program, and our related Safety Management Audit
Programs, APTA has been working with and encouraging its
members to plan and prepare for safety and security.
A good, safe, and secure system does not, as they say,
happen by accident, and the Secretary's words--preparation
equals performance--were borne out on September 11.
I can report to you that nearly all of the Nation's 18
commuter rail systems participate in our audit program, that
all of the Nation's rail transit systems in the country
participate either in our program, or in a program of their own
State, and those State programs follow guidelines that are
based on our system safety plans.
In the last year and a half, we have developed a similar
program for the Nation's bus systems, which is being
implemented now. And we are seeing, as you would well imagine,
quite a large increase in inquiries about joining that program
since September 11.
APTA handles that program through a staff of in-house
auditors who are well trained, and it is advised by committees
inside our association. We include members of FTA's security
office, as well as DOT's Office of Intelligence and Security,
in our meetings and as part of our committee.
We share and trade information and we make sure that we are
each aware of what the other is doing. We make sure that our
programs can be coordinated as much as they can be, so that
they can be effective.
Our safety and security plan program certainly proved its
worth on September 11. Both the operators in New York and
Washington have been long-standing members of those programs.
They had plans. They practiced their plans. And they responded
well when they were called upon.
As a trade association representing both public-sector
operators, which has been the focus of much of my testimony so
far, but also the private-sector industry that supports our
public operators, we work on a whole variety of activities, and
let me outline some of those for you very briefly. I would be,
obviously, happy to go into more detail during questions and
First, as soon as the terrible events became clear on
September 11, we immediately offered our help to the FTA and to
the Federal Railroad Administration. Within a few days, we were
able to supply them with a list of capital needs, operating
needs, and research and development needs that would be
critical to improving the safety and security of our systems.
We have, as part of our testimony, supplied that list to the
Committee for your consideration.
We think that considerable investment will need to be made,
and not anticipating your questions, but having heard the
questions to Administrator Dorn, we do believe that additional
investment is going to be made, and we are working with our
members now to see if we can get a handle on the order of
magnitude that might be appropriate there.
At our recently concluded annual meeting, we did have a
very special forum that the Administrator spoke of on Tuesday
afternoon, where the leaders from New York and Washington told
us of their experience and how they responded.
Four key themes emerged--you need to plan, you need to
prepare, you need to practice, and you need to partner. It was
clear in all those cases that those systems did that, it paid
off, and I am sure my colleague, Mr. White, say more about that
We as a trade association are sharing critical information
of best practices among our members. The reality of it is, this
has been an issue higher on some members priority list than it
has been for others. But now, it is number one on everybody's
list and we want to make sure that we learn from our
Later this month, we are sponsoring with the Mineta
Institute from San Jose State University in California, and the
American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials and DOT's Research and Special Projects
Administration, a special invitation-only conference here in
Washington, DC, where we will bring the leaders of the surface
transportation industry together to talk through these issues
and hear the results of research that was completed last summer
on terrorism in transportation and how to respond to it. We are
also having discussions with the International Union of Public
Transport based in Brussels. Regrettably, much of the rest of
the world has had far worse experience up until September 11
than us, and we do believe that we have much to learn from
other countries and other cities here.
And finally, we continue to work with DOT in making sure
that safety and security remain paramount issues. We are very
pleased with the Administrator's quick actions to develop a
rapid response toolbox, including an offer to our association
to have material placed in there.
We are very pleased with her response to assist in making
audits available. And there are many other examples where we
are working together. I will look forward to your questions and
expanding on these points.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman
Senator Reed. Thank you, Mr. Millar.
We will hear from Robert Molofsky, General Counsel of the
Amalgamated Transit Union.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT F. MOLOFSKY
GENERAL COUNSEL, AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION
Mr. Molofsky. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am appearing on
behalf of our International President James La Sala to discuss
the ATU's views and concerns about the safety issues facing the
transit industry, as well as to offer recommendations for
making transit systems safer and addressing the heightened
concerns in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
This is certainly a difficult time for those in the
transportation industry, and indeed, for all Americans. It has
now been 23 days since this Nation witnessed the horror of the
events on September 11. Since then, President Bush, his
Administration and Congress have shown remarkable
bipartisanship in their efforts to implement new counter-
terrorism measures. The airlines, along with the assistance of
the Federal Government, have adopted stringent new security
measures to better protect America's air travelers. And transit
systems throughout the country, with the full support and
assistance of the ATU, have begun to reexamine existing
security procedures and emergency preparedness plans in the
hopes of preventing further tragedies.
Today, too, we meet just one day after a most tragic
incident on Greyhound. We are indeed grateful that our driver
survived. And I take this moment to again offer and extend, on
behalf of the ATU, our prayers and thoughts to those
passengers, their families, and friends who were hurt or killed
in that accident. And yet, that incident underscores the kind
of preparations, plans, and programs that we are here today to
talk about in the transit industry.
We are grateful at the same time for the swift actions
undertaken by Secretary Mineta, Deputy Under Secretary
Underwood, the FBI, and State officials immediately
investigating that accident and communicating the outcome of
that investigation immediately, not only to Greyhound, but also
to the unions and others in the media and the public concerned
about what that event may or may not have been. We think that
important and rapid investigation and communication response
helped defuse what might have been a more difficult situation
and allowed the company, with our support, to reopen its
operations several hours after the shutdown.
Yet, despite all of the extraordinary measures taken in
transit and in the airlines, we know that no one is immune from
future attacks. This is not new to the ATU or the transit
industry who for years have faced startling statistics and
real-life events as I just described that have put this
industry on guard for the very real potential of terrorists or
According to the DOT's Office of Intelligence and Security,
attacks against transportation and transportation
infrastructures accounted for 42 percent of all international
terrorist attacks. And 34 percent of violent attacks against
transportation target rail and bus systems. Mass transportation
systems in the United States have figured prominently in many
of these acts of terrorism and extreme violence, and our
testimony summarizes those major incidents.
Our testimony, too, highlights the less severe forms of
violence against operators of bus transportation vehicles who
have also been, as happened yesterday, the victims of assaults
and attacks while in their vehicles. While the severity of
those incidents may pale in comparison to the recent tragedies
in New York and Washington, these assaults are nonetheless a
serious safety threat to transit personnel, passengers, and to
the rest of the traveling public who share the roads with our
mass transportation vehicles.
The ATU has been committed for years to addressing the
threat of these attacks. Among our many efforts in this
campaign, we have worked and have urged the FTA and Members of
Congress to require security measures and mass transit safety
programs, to increase penalties for persons who assault transit
operators, and to provide funding for the National Transit
Institute, enabling it to provide important safety research and
training programs to transit workers. Over the last two
sessions of Congress, we have also supported and urged passage
of the Preparedness Against Terrorism Act, currently H.R. 525.
This bill, now pending, seeks to improve coordination of
Federal efforts with regard to preparedness against terrorist
attacks in the United States.
The bill would require an assessment of the risk of such
attacks against transportation, energy, and other
infrastructure facilities, as well as an evaluation of
available technologies and practices to determine the best
means of protecting such facilities from attacks.
We take note of the testimony earlier of Administrator Dorn
in referencing Secretary Mineta's new committee that is now
undergoing a current review and study that parallels some of
the issues raised by that bill and hope that the transportation
labor community will be asked to participate in that ongoing
We want to take the opportunity to ask this Committee to
consider the bill now pending in the House and support it or
seek to have it included in any comprehensive transit security
legislation that may come out of these hearings in the future.
While I have painted a rather grim picture of the security
threats facing the industry, I would be remiss if I did not
point out that the transit industry is one of the safest forms
of transportation. Even in the face of the tragic events of
September 11, public transportation systems in New York and
Washington responded quickly, reliably, and efficiently in
evacuating people away from areas affected and delivering them
safely to their destinations.
Today, as I sit side by side with Mr. White of WMATA, it is
clear that the comprehensive planning, preparation, and
practices, as Mr. Millar mentioned, involving not only the
security personnel, but also the transit workers, on that
system, as in New York, were the key to the ability of those
two systems to respond as they did to those unexpected events.
They made heroes of our members and they made good examples of
what this country should look forward to having happen and take
place in every system throughout the United States.
With that said, there are several specific legislative and
regulatory fixes that must be taken to better ensure the safety
of our transit systems. This is not a time just for best
practices or model safety plans. We make the following six
recommendations for improving transit safety and security which
are amplified in detail in our testimony.
First and foremost, the safety and security requirements
which apply to fixed-rail guideway systems should be extended
to cover bus transit systems. There is currently no Federal
requirement that bus systems prepare or implement security
plans to protect and prepare bus operators and passengers in
emergency situations. This makes no sense.
Second, Federal law should be amended to require all
transit systems in urban areas to spend a minimum percentage of
their formula grant monies on security measures without
exception. While Federal law currently requires that at least 1
percent of such grants be spent on security, it allows an
exception where the grant recipient has decided that the
expenditures for security projects are not necessary. At a
minimum, that decision should be left up to the Secretary of
Third, Congress must appropriate sufficient funds to allow
transit agencies to adopt and implement needed security
improvements. Funding is necessary and needed not only for
equipment and planning, but also for training of the workers
who are on the front lines of our Nation's systems to ensure
that they are properly aware and informed as to the steps to be
taken in sudden emergencies.
Fourth, the FTA should develop a national transit terrorism
threat warning system similar to the system developed by the
FAA to warn all operating systems that an attack may be
Fifth, Congress should Federalize penalties for violent
assaults on transit operators. Despite the important public
service they provide and the accompanying risks they face on
the job every day, transit operators receive very little
protection under Federal and State laws, unlike airline pilots
or flight attendants.
Sixth, the FTA must further improve its transit crime
reporting system so that the true extent of the threat can be
We believe that by considering these and other measures,
including the program outlined by Administrator Dorn and by my
copanelists, that if the proper funding is provided to ensure
that all of the systems--the bus and rail systems--can develop
and implement the kinds of plans that we know will work, that
our systems will remain safe and become safer and that the
personnel that are on the front lines and operating those
systems will be well prepared to respond to sudden attacks.
Thank you, and I will be happy to later answer questions.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Mr. Molofsky.
We have been joined by the Chairman of the full Committee,
Senator Sarbanes, and at the conclusion of Mr. White's
testimony, I will ask him for his comments.
Mr. White, again, thank you and your colleagues for
wonderful service to this community and the Nation on September
11. And please proceed.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD A. WHITE, GENERAL MANAGER
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY
Mr. White. Thank you.
Good afternoon, Chairman Reed, Senator Allard, and
Committee Chairman Sarbanes. Thank you for asking me to testify
on the important subject of transit safety in the wake of
The events of September 11 have affected all aspects of
national life. Daily and routine events like business trips,
vacation travel, and commuting have been changed forever.
Although WMATA handled its mission well on that tragic day, we
now face altered expectations, especially from our Federal
customer base. Safety and security are of concern for each of
the 1.1 million daily trips on the system, and it is our
obligation to continue to ensure that Metrorail and Metrobus
operations provide our customers safe passage, so the important
work of the National Capital Region can continue.
Before responding to your questions regarding safety, I
would like to also acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of our
New York and New Jersey colleagues. They were heroes in their
communities. As did Administrator Dorn earlier this week, I
also attended the annual meeting of the American Public
Transportation Association and heard firsthand some of the
courageous and brave acts performed by transit employees, acts
which literally saved thousands of lives that otherwise would
have been lost in the subway tunnels that ran underneath the
World Trade Center complex.
In those and other systems across the Nation, America's
transit system customers were safeguarded on that sad day. And
Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee, I believe that
WMATA and transit systems across the country will play an even
greater role in our national defense and national security in
the months and years ahead.
On September 11, when WMATA was needed most, and in the
midst of regional chaos, Metrorail and Metrobus were ready, and
delivered for the National Capital Region. We operated the
equivalent of back-to-back rush hours, virtually without
incident, after the Federal Government and other regional
employers sent hundreds of thousands of workers home around
mid-morning. We were operating the entire day. We did what we
do best--we moved large numbers of people safely and
Throughout the day, the WMATA workforce performed
extraordinarily, and, I might add the vast majority of our
represented employees are represented by the Amalgamated
Transit Union. Not once did an employee put their own
individual concerns ahead of their sense of duty to the
customers. The transit police, the bus and rail operators, the
station personnel, the customer service representatives--
everyone--demonstrated their dedication to our mission of
moving people safely and securely.
Further, we never lost communications throughout the day.
We established our internal operations command center and
maintained contact with local, State, and Federal authorities.
We communicated with our riders through in-system messages, our
phone system, and over the Internet through the website.
WMATA, blessedly, suffered no property damage, no loss of
life, and no injury to any of our employees, or to any of our
customers on that terrible day. I would be happy to give you
additional details on the actions of that day, but I would now
like to address the important safety questions raised in your
The most significant issue facing WMATA is adapting to the
post-September 11 reality that our freedom of mobility has been
challenged. Security is paramount in the minds of our riders.
WMATA is considered one of the safest transit systems in the
country, but we are always reviewing ways to meet the
obligation of providing greater security for the riders of the
region's public transportation.
Currently, we have been doing the following, and, have been
doing the following for quite some time.
We do conduct annual counter-terrorism training for our
police. We conduct suspicious package and explosive device
training, not only for our police, but for our operations
personnel as well. We provide bomb containment trash cans. We
participate in numerous interagency related training drills. We
have 1,400 cameras monitoring the rail system. We participate
in the testing of emergency technology. And we have assigned
protective equipment to our police and rail operations
We are partnering with the scientific community and the
Federal Government through the Departments of Transportation,
Energy, and Justice, under the guidance of several national
laboratories in an ongoing program for chemical and biological
protection. For security reasons I cannot discuss the details
of this program, but chemical sensors have been installed in a
portion of our rail system and are being tested in the system
as a part of an effort to protect our customers, first-line
emergency responders, and employees. The intent is to share the
results of the program with the transit industry in this
country and around the world.
In addition, WMATA has identified a number of enhancements
to current security. Since you have asked the question about
investment, we have a preliminary list of approximately $20
million for a series of security enhancements, including
allowing us to provide the recording of security-related
incidents. The 1,400 cameras that I mentioned do not have
recording capabilities. We believe that we can enhance our
security efforts by providing recorders to those cameras. Also,
to provide intrusion monitoring capability, adding that same
kind of technology at our rail yards and bus
garages will help limit access in secure facilities to
authorized personnel only.
We are currently completing a comprehensive review of
procedures, facilities, and other security enhancements. We
believe that other security options could be desirable, such as
security cameras on our buses, a global positioning vehicle
location system for our buses, and additional sensors
throughout the system. The review is an effort to identify all
other potential security needs and their associated costs. Of
course, this would be in addition to the $20 million that I
Completing this review and implementing additional security
enhancements should go a long way toward reassuring our riders
that public transit continues to be safe in the post-September
Since September 11, we have done other things, such as
providing a higher level of presence of the Metro police. We
put them in bright orange-colored vests, together with our
operations personnel, so that they are more visible to our
customers. We are
engaged in continued dialogue with our customers related to the
security, asking them to be additional eyes and ears for us. We
are doing additional risk assessments, and we have inplemented
some new security measures in our headquarters.
What we learned on that day was that it is critical that
there are reliable and redundant communication systems in place
and that there is an open exchange of information with other
local and Federal agencies. There does need to be a regional
evacuation plan developed for this metropolitan area in
cooperation with local, State and Federal agencies. Such a plan
is now in development on an expedited basis.
Further, there needs to be regular and ongoing
communication with our riders. We found the value of our
website where we had double the number of web hits and user
sessions on that day and also handled double the number of
calls into our call center.
More broadly speaking, to improve safety, I believe that
all transit properties should do the following:
Make sure that you do have good emergency plans. Make sure
that you have a high level of employee training and awareness.
There is no substitute for drill, drill, drill. Make sure that
you have a high level of interagency coordination with
appropriate police, fire and emergency rescue personnel. Know
your partners, but, more importantly, have roles and
responsibilities well defined and understood before an incident
takes place. Make sure the communications systems, both
internal and external, are adequate and in good working order.
To improve transit safety, echoing what we have already
heard from Administrator Dorn and others, the Federal
Government should consider the following:
Have FTA conduct a security readiness assessment of all
transit systems, or certainly the largest transit systems. Have
FTA provide technical assistance to systems in preparing good
safety and security plans and in conducting training and
drills. Have FTA be the facilitator of information through the
exchange of national and international best practices through
linkage with the Department of Transportation's Office of
Intelligence and Security and the new Office of Homeland
Security. Exploring and making best use of technology. Ensuring
that the various Federal agencies with regulatory
responsibility do coordinate their activities with the transit
industry. Coordinating intelligence-sharing through partnering
efforts with the FBI and other key Federal agencies. I would
put an underscore on that particular item. Supporting necessary
long- and short-term investments in order to provide enhanced
security and expanded system capacity.
There was much talk of transit's ability to shape the
nature of the first major transportation bill of the 21st
Century, at the APTA annual conference this week.
In closing, I would like to propose that now is the time
for the Nation to consider certain transit properties as a part
of the national defense system, and to contemplate their value
and needs as the evacuation method of choice, and possible
necessity, during specific emergency situations. Every mode of
transportation is important during emergencies, but transit has
experienced the highest growth rate of any of the
transportation modes over the last 5 years. It is able to move
people more quickly and efficiently than congested roads and
highways can. The Nation needs to view our transit systems in a
national defense context in order to properly recognize the new
Thank you for holding a hearing on this important subject.
I look forward to answering your questions.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Mr. White.
Now, I want to call upon full Committee Chairman Sarbanes
for his comments.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR PAUL S. SARBANES
Senator Sarbanes. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I apologize for not being here earlier and, unfortunately, I am
going to have to leave because of the press of other business.
But I first of all want to underscore my appreciation to you
for calling what I think is a very important and timely
Our Nation, of course, has experienced a daunting national
tragedy. It is very difficult to find words to convey the
devastation that occurred on September 11. It is now 3 weeks
after that day and I am gratified to see that, while we
continue to mourn those who are lost, we are proceeding ahead
with the business of the country. This hearing reflects that.
We obviously need to focus since more and more Americans
are relying on public transportation for their daily mobility
needs. It is my understanding that the ridership is up now to a
peak year since, when, 1946 or something?
Mr. Millar. In the last 40 years, it is the highest
ridership at the current time since about 1960, 1961.
Senator Sarbanes. That is right. So it is very clear that
transit must be a vital component of any city for transit plans
to begin with, and certainly, any emergency plans.
Today's hearing will focus on the security of the systems
themselves, but we need to keep in mind the crucial role that a
reliable public transportation network can play in responding
to the demands of the traveling public.
Now, obviously, public transportation faces unique
challenges in the safety and security area. Almost by
definition, transit must be accessible to all who wish to use
it. It runs on identified routes and at published times, it has
to use an extensive network of roads and rails, spanning a wide
geographic area. So, we have to do some very careful thinking
about how we address the safety and security problems.
The United States has actually been largely spared from
transit- related terrorism, some of which rail and bus attacks
have occurred in other countries. I know that Mr. Molofsky, in
his testimony, had a list of incidents. But compared to what
has been experienced in European countries, it is a fairly
short list, and some of it seems directly attributable to
individuals of a deranged nature of one sort and another. Not
that that makes it much better, but at least it is not
perceived as part of some coordinated scheme.
Transit systems have taken steps to mitigate the risks,
minimize the damages. Their efforts of course cover a wide
range of things--improved technology, increased coordination
among agencies, heightened awareness and training for transit
Mr. Chairman, I was very struck by this panel in terms of
how specific and focused the recommendations of each of the
three people at the table were in terms of what could be done.
By happenstance, of course, the American Public Transportation
Association just held their annual conference in Philadelphia
and was able to focus in particular on this issue. But each of
our witnesses at the table has really laid out a very detailed
agenda of what can be done and what needs to be done. And your
holding this hearing will help to underscore that. It helps us
also to provide an agenda to the Federal Transit Administration
and to the Department of Transportation on how we may move
There is tremendous expertise not only at the table, but
also reflected by their colleagues across the country. And
obviously, they are in a position to speak in a very
knowledgeable way about things that can be done. So, I am
hopeful, with your prodding and that of others here in the
Congress, we can take some of these recommendations and move
them very quickly into an action agenda.
Now, we will not be dealing with the reauthorization of
transit. I mean, we are still in the authorization cycle, so
that remains ahead of us. But there are obviously matters we
can do in the short run. In the long run, we need to do a lot.
We were already beginning to focus on that. I know of the
Chairman and the Ranking Member's strong commitment to transit.
And I very much look forward to helping carry through with
that. But Senator Reed and Senator Allard, I think this is a
very, very timely hearing and I appreciate your initiative in
holding this hearing.
Thank you very much.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Chairman Sarbanes.
Let me address a question to Mr. Millar. There is a
differential between the way the Federal Government treats rail
systems and bus systems in terms of the security policy and
safety policy. Do you think there should be the same rules
applied to bus systems, as well as rail systems?
Mr. Millar. Bus systems and rail systems are different. The
technology is different, the operating environments are
different. So, I do not believe that a single approach makes
Where we are is that, historically, rail systems carried
much larger numbers of people, and often had enclosed, fixed
facilities and were viewed as more likely targets.
What we have learned in the last 3 weeks as we focused on
the overall issues, and certainly, as my colleague, Mr.
Molofsky, has pointed out, we certainly need to do a better job
across the board, not just where the risk is the greatest.
Senator Reed. I just want to be clear. Because they are
different in many ways, you cannot apply the same rules.
Mr. Millar. Right.
Senator Reed. But there are guidelines that the Federal
Government promulgates, as I understand, for rail systems and
they do not do that for buses. Would it be appropriate to have
certain guidelines for bus systems that the Federal Government
Mr. Millar. I was with you until ``Federal Government
Senator Reed. Okay.
Mr. Millar. We as an industry have put together guidelines
for our bus operators, regardless of size.
Senator Reed. Right.
Mr. Millar. We are believers in voluntary compliance with
those guidelines and working with our members to do it.
Administrator Dorn said it best, though--no matter what our
positions have been, everything has to be on the table. And we
would anticipate working with the Congress and the
Administration on appropriate guidelines in that area.
Senator Reed. The issue, and you suggested in your
response, is what is voluntary and what is mandatory?
Mr. Millar. Yes.
Senator Reed. And I hope that issue is on the table.
Mr. Millar. Yes, sir.
Senator Reed. In that regard, before I turn to Mr. White
and ask him to comment on this line of questioning, ask you to
what extent do those bus systems meet what you would say is
good practice out there? Is it 80 percent of them? 20 percent
Mr. Millar. The largest bus systems in the country, the
ones that probably carry 75 or 80 percent of the bus passengers
in the Nation, are all members of our bus safety program and
all practice the same kind of activities that served us so well
by the rail systems on September 11. For the smaller systems,
by and large, it is a new issue to them. But if I can judge
what I heard from my members in the last few days, a very
important issue for them.
Senator Reed. The other issue, just to put it on the table,
is not just the guidelines. It is also requiring funds to be
spent on safety and security measures. Mr. Molofsky was quite
specific to these issues. So let me turn to Mr. White. Would
you comment on these issues?
Mr. White. Yes, Mr. Chairman. We are an operator of both a
heavy rail system and a large bus system. I would agree with
the characterization of Mr. Millar as to, first, the
differences between a rail system and a bus system and, second,
the differences between a large bus system and a small bus
We already voluntarily comply. We already have system
safety program plans for bus as well as rail and security plans
for a bus, as well as rail. We have already taken that step. We
have also signed up for the APTA bus review program, which is a
very new program. We are one of the first properties to sign
up. As a matter of fact, APTA is going to be conducting that
audit within the next week or two.
We believe in being very proactive. We make sure that our
bus system has the appropriate protections built into it. I
agree that we need to move forward on a voluntary basis and
maybe begin to differentiate a little bit between the larger
systems and the smaller systems.
Senator Reed. Thank you.
Mr. Molofsky, do you have a comment? I do not want to
presume to know your answer, although it was pretty obvious.
Mr. Molofsky. I appreciate you asking those questions.
It is unclear to us what exactly the field is in terms of
those systems that are complying and exactly what they are
complying with, even voluntarily.
Certainly, there are a number of the large systems that are
probably exemplary. We do not think it is uniform even for
those who have some plans in place.
Also, we would note that, as we set forth in our testimony
and in correspondence to the FTA, the model bus plan, the model
transit bus safety program that has been developed and
circulated without our input, is pretty light on security
issues and was prepared without any input from the
transportation labor force. So, I just want to underscore that.
We are prepared to work with our industry counterparts in
the FTA to ensure that there are acceptable guidelines that
meet the new security issues that we all face. But without a
mandate, and the funds to go along with it, given the public
interest and the public policy to maximize safety and security
among all of our Nation's systems, we would fall short of what
we owe the public and the ridership that we serve.
Senator Reed. Mr. Millar.
Mr. Millar. May I comment further on that, Mr. Chairman?
Senator Reed. Yes, absolutely, sir.
Mr. Millar. Certainly, the Committee is going to want to
look into the issue of what should the Federal Government pay
for. Some things will be very obvious. I am sure there is no
disagreement on major, multiyear, capital items or things like
security cameras and the like. But how about the men and women
to be on the other end of those security cameras?
One of the things the public expects is to see police in
the stations ready and visible. That not only improves
security, but also improves the sense of security. Right now,
those are not costs that the Federal Government covers. So we
certainly would support funding earmarked specifically for
safety and security. However, we would recommend to you, that
it may be more broadly defined than it is in current law.
Senator Reed. Let me ask another question which goes to the
oversight that the FTA performs for the Office of Safety and
Security. They are responsible for developing at the Federal
level these best practices, guidelines, and performing audits
at the request of local transit agencies. I wonder--Mr. Millar,
Mr. Molofsky, and Mr. White--what has been your experience with
the Office of Safety and Security? Do they need additional
legislative authority, additional resources, different
Mr. Millar. We have been pleased in the last couple of
years that Safety and Security has gotten a great deal more
attention. They have added additional staff. We would support
additional staffing for those offices. We do believe that would
be appropriate and necessary. I do not know that we have a
specific recommendation at this point. We may be able to
provide that later. But we do believe they need more resources,
Senator Reed. Mr. Molofsky.
Mr. Molofsky. I would agree. I would add that it is one
thing to have a good plan. It is another thing for all of the
people who work on the transit system to know what that plan is
and be trained to implement it. And to that extent, more
resources are needed both within the FTA's Office of Safety and
Security and through FTA generally, to enable these systems to
provide the appropriate training to make sure that the
workforce is prepared to respond.
Senator Reed. Thank you.
Mr. White I must say, I am a user of your system. When you
own a 1991 Ford Escort, you find yourself using the system,
It is a wonderful system. But would you comment now?
Mr. White. Mr. Chairman, I hope we are at least as
reliable, if not more reliable, than your 1991 Ford Escort.
Senator Reed. Well, you are more reliable.
Mr. White. I know that the Administrator said that they are
evaluating the issue of personnel and manpower with the
Secretary and the Office of Management and Budget. Ultimately,
they would need to be the best judge of their needs. Certainly,
it is a program that has grown quite large over the years with
a very limited amount, if any, of additional personnel.
There seems to be a dependency on third-party consultants
to provide the technical support to the Federal Transit
Administration with its many oversight responsibilities. Given
the increasing importance which we all must attach to the
safety and security issue, I certainly would not be surprised
if it were their conclusion that additional manpower was
Although one can benefit from independent help, you do need
to have a fair amount of expertise on you own staff. I would
hope that the FTA can satisfy themselves that they have an
adequate amount of expertise.
Senator Reed. Let me turn it over to Senator Allard.
Senator Allard. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Millar, in your testimony, you talked about providing
some audit services to your membership. We heard from the
previous panel that they also provide audit services. Do we
have a duplication of effort here?
Mr. Millar. I do not believe we do. The APTA program goes
back to the mid-1980's. Much of what the Federal Transit
Administration does, to my knowledge, is based on the
guidelines that have been developed in the industry.
As I testified, representatives of FTA, as well as the DOT
Office of Intelligence and Security, sit on our committees to
make sure that we are coordinating properly. There are
certainly transit systems that are not members of my
association, but do receive Federal aid. And, quite properly,
the FTA needs to assist in meeting their needs as well. So, I
do not believe there is duplication.
Senator Allard. Let me understand this. There are people
that are in mass transit that are not members of your
association. You believe them to use the services provided by
Mr. Millar. Yes, sir.
Senator Allard. Now your members, do they generally use
your audit services and then supplement them with the FTA? Or
do they just say, well, what you provide is adequate enough, we
do not need to use the FTA's.
Mr. Millar. You have to talk in classes of our members. The
commuter rail members use our services. The rapid transit and
light rail members use either our services or Congressionally
mandated State services that are based on ours. The bus
services, I would think, generally speaking, would either use
ours or the FTA. But I really do not know that they overlap
between the two. I would be glad to get that information for
Senator Allard. It would be helpful.
Mr. Millar. Sure.
Senator Allard. Thank you. Also, could you give us some
estimate as to how many transit agencies have--we were just
talking about safety plans in place. Of those who have safety
plans in place, how many of them do you think are considering
the possibility of terrorist attacks?
Mr. Millar. All the commuter rail systems have some form of
safety plans. There is one brand new one that is in the process
of putting theirs together now. All of the rail systems in the
country have safety plans. To my knowledge, there are 26 of the
major bus systems that are members of APTA and use our
guidelines. I do not know how many bus systems that are not in
our program may have their own safety plans underway. I do not
believe we have that information.
Senator Allard. Thank you.
Mr. Millar and Mr. White, you must balance a lot of
interests when you are putting together your safety plans. Your
members not only operate mass transit systems, but also bus
Mr. White, you alluded that you not only operate a large
mass transit system, but also a lot of buses separately. And
when it comes to terrorist attacks and safety plans and
whatnot, do you find it difficult in establishing priorities
between those two areas of service, or do you find that you can
pretty well put together adequate safety plans, including
consideration of possible terrorist attacks with both of those
types of services that you provide?
Mr. White. I guess Mr. Millar is looking at me, so, Senator
Allard, I guess that is my cue to go first.
Senator Allard. You go first and he will wrap it up.
Mr. White. Since my arrival at WMATA in August 1996, I have
been on record, and stated before my arrival, that safety was
my top priority. Coming into WMATA, it was clear that there
were a number of issues that required attention. As I entered
the authority, we were coming off of a very unfortunate
incident where one of our rail operators lost their life.
Safety has had my utmost attention, and it is the highest
priority of the authority for both bus and rail. I would admit
that there are probably more things that still need to be done
for both bus and rail. The bus system is much larger and
deserves to get all the attention that it requires. I appointed
a chief safety officer immediately upon my arrival and made
that department a direct report to me. I might have been the
first General Manager in the country to do that. A number of
transit systems have followed since then. We have built that
department up from about 7 or 8 people to about 25 people in
just a couple of years.
Our police department--and I believe we have done an
outstanding job that has been recognized. In a recent audit
conducted by the General Accounting Office which looked at a
number of our programs, including safety and security, their
quote, which I think said it all, was an assessment by both FTA
and APTA that we were, ``very good in both safety and
We have done a number of things that are leading the
industry in terms of best practices. We are not resting on our
laurels. More needs to be done. Quite frankly, much of it does
require resources to accomplish.
Senator Allard. Mr. Millar, for your membership?
Mr. Millar. Yes. The transit systems around the country are
controlled either as parts of city or county departments,
usually, or as separate authorities with local citizens or
local elected officials on the board. The budget battle is
always there. I would not kid you, but based on what I have
heard since September 11, everyone is understanding the need to
rejuggle their budget priorities.
However, I anticipate that they will run into the stark
reality, as I indicated in my earlier answer, in taking many of
the steps to improve security. It is going to require very
difficult choices between the amount of extra security one puts
in place, which are generally operating costs, versus, let us
say, the number of bus route miles that one operates, or the
bus vehicle miles.
That will be a topic of conversation throughout the
country, and I would encourage that as this Committee looks at
this whole security issue, that we be realistic about the
funding that is going to be necessary. We cannot kid the
American public: To have good, safe, secure systems costs
Senator Allard. Where I see us struggling, if we look at
Mr. Molofsky's figures there, most of the instances we see
reported on there are actually on buses. But, then, you could
have one incident on a train that could be more catastrophic
than 25 incidents on a bus. And that is one of the things, Mr.
Chairman, that we will have to struggle with and this Congress
will probably have to struggle with.
Now, the country has more than 500 transit agencies running
the gamut of really large, sophisticated agencies, like the one
here in Washington, and then there are those that have smaller
agencies, like the one I have in my hometown of Loveland,
Colorado--Valentine capital, I might add. Do such desperate
systems have very different emergency needs? And do smaller
systems also have adequate access to technical and financial
assistance, in your view, Mr. Millar?
Mr. Millar. In my view, there is certainly a difference in
scale that results in a difference in need. But safety and
security must be dealt with in every size property.
Americans tended to think that smaller communities in rural
areas and perhaps places away from the largest cities were the
safer place. Unfortunately, the history of our country in the
last few years is terror can strike anywhere. So, we are
working with the FTA and looking at regional meetings that
might be easier for smaller members to get to. We have also
recently amended our bus program to allow for joint bus audits
of smaller communities. We tested that in the State of Illinois
among small properties and it worked very well. We need to
rethink where and when things can happen and who needs to know.
Senator Allard. I want to follow up on the smaller systems,
like my hometown. They are relying pretty much, from what I can
tell, on their local police departments and maybe the
sheriff 's department in some instances, to provide the safety
requirements to at least be a participant if there is a
terrorist act or some kind of event that occurs on those
systems. In your view, do you believe local law enforcement is
prepared to respond to these situations? And would you comment
a little bit about how much coordination and planning is
happening right now between these smaller transit systems and
local law enforcement?
Mr. Millar. I am certainly no expert on the capability of
law enforcement in smaller communities. I can tell you, as a
General Manager, as I was for many years in a larger community,
that it is only in recent years that law enforcement in my
experience has begun to come to grips with terrorism. And of
course, that is because we have all learned a lot more there.
So, I would anticipate that there would be more need to train
law enforcement officers, particularly in smaller communities,
who may not have had to face this before.
I would think that we need to look to partnerships. For
example, one of the things that we used to do when I was in
Pittsburgh was do joint exercises with the surrounding transit
agencies. They were very small, we were very large, so that we
could share our expertise and knowledge. As Mr. White
testified, and I alluded to, having the relationships
established with local police, local fire, and local emergency
workers, long before there is a need, becomes key and becomes
critical, and that is true whether you are talking about the
largest systems or the tiniest systems.
Senator Allard. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Reed. Thank you very much, Senator Allard.
Let me follow up quickly with just a few questions.
Mr. Millar, you may not have these numbers, but if you
could get them to us, we would appreciate it. Generally what on
average does a transit system spend on security, if you look
across the Nation? And then, if you could help us, is it
Mr. Millar. I really do not know, but we will be glad to
get that for you, sir.
Senator Reed. Thank you. And also, if you could help give
us your perspective as to what might be an adequate level. I
know it might change system by system, but give us an idea.
Mr. Millar. Yes, sir.
Senator Reed. Mr. Millar, you suggested, and Mr. White and
Mr. Molofsky, that there might be some comments you would like
to make informally. We will arrange, subject to our procedures,
for an opportunity to get your informal feedback, which you
might be able to share some details we cannot share now.
Mr. Molofsky, you also indicated that one of the key
elements is training of transit operators, the whole workforce.
Is there any system in particular that you would point out as
being a model of that, an exemplar of that system?
Mr. Molofsky. I am sitting next to one.
Senator Reed. Good.
Mr. Molofsky. WMATA is a good example. I just want to add
another note on that.
Senator Reed. Please.
Mr. Molofsky. We know that Lamar, Colorado is not
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And we know that systems of different
sizes are going to require different kinds of plans and
programs requiring more or less amounts of money.
The point I want to emphasize is this. Just as the local
police in Manchester, Tennessee, responded very effectively to
the Greyhound incident, we believe that local law enforcement
can respond to incidents as they occur. We have the highest
regard for the police force in this country.
However, at the same time, what we are stressing is the
need for a set of standards, of requirements for the transit
systems, both large and small, to convey to their workforce to
have in place the kinds of security systems that make sense for
that community. We are not saying that Pittsburgh's system
should be applied to the smaller towns in other parts of the
country. But as we speak and as we sit here, the bus systems
and bus drivers, which are highly exposed on the Nation's
roads, are not working for systems that are required to have
appropriate programs in place. And that is where we are
pledging today to work with the industry and the FTA to
identify what those kinds of programs should be and look for
the resources to make sure that they can provide them.
Senator Reed. Thank you.
Finally, Mr. White, you alluded to one of the key elements
in your ability to respond so effectively, was redundant
communications. And I am just wondering, Mr. Millar, Mr.
Molofsky, Mr. White, is that a problem in other systems?
Obviously, it was not a problem in Washington, thank goodness.
Mr. Millar. Everything we have heard from our members is
that that is essential because cell phones might work one
place, radios another, land lines another. Ten minutes from
now, what worked 10 minutes ago does not work, but something
else has come back on-line. So, yes, redundant communications
Senator Reed. And I presume that is another resource
challenge in terms of getting that in every system, from Lamar,
Colorado, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Molofsky. It is not just communication between the
driver and the transit authority and the enforcement agencies.
It is communication that allows the transit agencies
themselves, the GPS and other systems, to track the equipment
that is on the street. This is important for Greyhound, as we
have learned and had reinforced yesterday, and it is equally
important for our transit systems. And Mr. White emphasized it
and we think it is an important program that should be
supported around the country.
Senator Reed. Mr. White, a comment or anything else that
you might want to add at this juncture?
Mr. White. Mr. Chairman, I would go back again to stressing
the importance of interagency coordination. You have heard a
number of us speak to that and, clearly, the Administrator has
spoken to that. To emphasize the point, make sure that
everybody has practiced well so that when you show up on the
scene, people are not fumbling all over one another trying to
find out who has jurisdiction on the scene.
That is absolutely critical, and only comes from training
and coordination, actually, inter-personal relationship. You
need to know these people because they are going to be your
best friends. It is going to be a mutual-aid society, and that
Another issue--you have to understand the nature of the
world that we live in here in Washington, DC--we have found, of
course, to be of tremendous assistance to us, is the sharing of
intelligence information. That is absolutely critical. Although
one can never guarantee that you can prevent something from
happening, the best place to start is on the front end, to know
that you should be on the look-out for something, rather than
on the back end, trying to respond to something that happened.
So that is very important.
Senator Reed. Well, thank you, Mr. White, Mr. Molofsky, and
Mr. Millar, for your excellent testimony. The good news, I
believe, is that we are aware of the very serious threat to the
security of the public as they try to move about this country.
With that knowledge, I hope that we can go forward and do more
to ensure their security and safety. But it is a very difficult
and daunting task, as suggested by you gentlemen and Ms. Dorn.
And Senator Allard and I obviously pledge our best efforts
to work with everyone to ensure you have the resources and the
direction to go forward and to ensure that we do all we can to
prevent any type of possible incident on our transit systems
throughout the United States.
Senator Allard. Mr. Chairman, just to kind of bring this to
a close here. It is obvious that there has already been a
considerable amount done and thought put in by the industry. I
want to congratulate you.
But after September 11, things have changed. Certainly it
is appropriate for us to review carefully the new situation
that now exists in this country. I am pleased with the comments
from the Chairman. We will carefully review what was said here
and carefully review as far as your industry is concerned and
see what there is that we can do to be helpful in this effort
to make our transit systems safer.
Senator Reed. Thank you, Senator Allard.
This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:07 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
[Prepared statements, response to written questions, and
additional material supplied for the record follow:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am glad you have called this hearing and
I appreciate our witnesses coming before the Subcommittee today.
September 11 will certainly be remembered as a day that changed our
Nation forever. As we continue to grieve the lives lost in this
horrendous attack, this Congress also has come together to tackle the
serious security and anti-terrorism issues that must be addressed, in
order for our Nation's business to go on.
One of the issues foremost on our minds is addressing the public's
safety. Whether it is on our Nation's airplanes, trains, and buses, in
our offices and Federal buildings, or even in our football and baseball
stadiums, this attack has made us all feel vulnerable. We must remember
that terrorism is only victorious when it makes us fear and question
the way we conduct our daily lives. Our daily commute to work, weekly
trips to the grocery store, weekend football games--all of these things
must go on, if we are to defeat this insidious threat. That is why it
is paramount that we reassure Americans of the continued safety of our
Nation's public transportation system.
Millions of Americans rely on our Nation's buses, subways, and
commuter trains every day to travel to their homes, schools, and jobs.
While the U.S. transit systems have fortunately not been the focus of
terrorism, buses, trains, and subways have long been targets of
terrible attacks in such countries as Israel, France, and Japan.
Many of our public transportation systems have responded to the
growing threat of terrorism, and have added additional training and
security programs to protect passengers, employees, and facilities from
the devastating consequences of a terrorist act. In the wake of this
terrible tragedy, we need to expand and support these efforts to
protect the public's safety.
Mr. Chairman, I also would like to commend both the Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the New York City
transit authorities for responding quickly and effectively to the
September 11 attacks.
After the Pentagon was struck by the hijacked airliner, WMATA
closed the Pentagon Metrorail Station and delivered engineers to assess
the structural damage. The system also provided buses to help transport
those injured at the Pentagon to area hospitals, and provided several
Metrobuses to assist DC Metropolitan Police in moving personnel to
several locations throughout the District.
Both Washington and New York transit systems also helped passengers
safely return to their homes and their loved ones within hours of the
attack. Even in the wake of these horrible attacks, the Washington and
New York City transit employees kept these regions moving, safely, and
I know the witnesses before us today have an impressive breadth of
experience on this topic, and I look forward to hearing their ideas and
insight for helping maintain the safety of our Nation's public transit
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR JON S. CORZINE
Chairman Reed, thank you for calling this hearing of the
Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation to discuss the safety of our
transit systems. This is a critical question for this Subcommittee to
consider in the aftermath of the horrific attack on our Nation on
September 11 and I look forward to hearing the testimony of Federal
Transit Administrator Dorn and the other witnesses.
Mr. Chairman, we saw what a vital role our mass transit system can
play in the events that unfolded on September 11 when, in both
Washington and New York, trains and buses helped ease the crush of the
thousands of people leaving their offices at the same time, trying to
get home to their loved ones. I can tell the Committee that, in the
aftermath of this attack, mass transit ridership into New York City
remains at high levels.
We have to make sure that mass transit will be able to continue to
play such a vital role. That cannot happen unless people know that the
trains, buses, and ferries they are riding are safe.
That is why I am glad to hear from the witnesses today and I look
forward to considering how the Federal Government can help to keep our
Nation's mass transit systems safe and secure. But I want to point out
that any look at the security needs of mass transit must eventually
consider the need for increased rail construction.
Mr. Chairman, one of the many lessons we learned from this tragedy
in my home State is how much of a strain a terrorist attack can put on
a mass transit network. While I am proud to say that the State agencies
that coordinate transit between New York and New Jersey--New Jersey
Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey--met the
challenge, it is clear that this overloaded infrastructure needs to
provide more options to get people off the road.
Mr. Chairman, we need to ensure that there are enough rail lines to
support cities like Washington and New York both during normal times as
well as in emergencies. That is why I am supporting major rail projects
for the New York metropolitan area such as building a rail tunnel under
the Hudson River from New York into New Jersey. Such a project is
necessary to help the metropolitan area meet this new demand and I will
be working to secure funding for it in the future.
Only by increasing the availability of mass transit, as well as
increasing security on buses, trains, and ferries, can we say that we
have a safe and secure transit system.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JENNIFER L. DORN
Administrator, Federal Transit Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
October 4, 2001
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. Good afternoon. Thank
you for the opportunity to testify on behalf of the Federal Transit
Administration regarding the security of our Nation's transit systems.
Every year, America's public transportation systems carry more than
9 billion passengers and employ nearly 400,000 people. It is estimated
that our public transportation infrastructure--subways, light rail,
buses, ferries, and commuter railroad services--is valued at hundreds
of billions of dollars. Ensuring the security of the Americans who
depend upon this infrastructure, as well as the security of these
important assets, has always been an important duty of every transit
agency, but the events of September 11 have proven to all of us this
responsibility must receive even more attention and resources in order
to keep our communities safe and moving.
I want to express my personal gratitude to our transit colleagues
in New York and Washington DC, who had emergency response plans in
place and the courageous leadership to take action when the
unimaginable happened. We have all been riveted by stories in the press
about the heroes of September 11. I have one more I would like to
At 8:52 a.m. on September 11, minutes after the first hijacked jet
plowed into One World Trade Center, a Port Authority Trans-Hudson
(PATH) train master gave life-saving instructions to conductors and
A train from Newark, carrying about 1,000 passengers, had just
pulled into the station below the World Trade Center. The train master
told the crew to keep everyone on the train, board everyone in the
station, and immediately depart for the
Exchange Place stop in Jersey City. Public transportation employees
immediately evacuated passengers who mistakenly left the train.
A train from Hoboken carrying another 1,000 people was just behind
the Newark train. The train master told that crew to keep the doors
closed at the Trade Center and head immediately to Jersey City.
The train master then told another train in Jersey City to
discharge all passengers and head back to the World Trade Center to
evacuate remaining travelers and transit personnel. That train departed
with its precious cargo at 9:10 a.m., 40 minutes before the first
That train master, Richie Moran, and PATH's emergency response
plan, saved thousands of lives. As we watched the death toll climb in
New York, it is astounding to realize that no one riding the PATH or
New York City subway lines that morning was injured.
At the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, similarly
quick action occurred. Within minutes of the Pentagon crash, all
Metrorail trains were ordered into tunnels, where they would be safe
from any further air attacks. Twelve minutes later, with the skies
clear, Metro was up and running safely--once again.
The State Department reports that in 1991, 20 percent of all
violent attacks worldwide were against transportation targets; by 1998,
40 percent involved transportation targets, with a growing number
directed at bus and rail systems. The
recent attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon using
hijacked airliners reminds us all that we must respond to a new
terrorist reality--terrorism that is well-financed, well-organized, and
ruthless. The credible threat of increasing terrorism directed toward
our Nation's transit systems requires that we take immediate prudent
action to prevent, prepare for, and respond to violence--the nature and
magnitude of which was once unimaginable.
Today, I would like to share with you the immediate steps that FTA
is taking to help keep our communities safe and moving, and to discuss
some of the issues that we believe should be considered as the
President and Congress examine the broader implications of the new
I want to talk with you about the work we have underway to help our
community public transportation agencies cope with this threat. There
are 5 components to our security initiative: assessment, planning,
technology, testing, and training.
First, assessment. Enhancing transit security must begin with an
in-depth, professional assessment of the threats to and vulnerabilities
of each transit system. This is not a ``one size fits all''
undertaking; every transit system has different components--tunnels,
bridges, open rights-of-way--and different intersections with other
means of transportation--connecting with airports, train stations,
highways. Some of our transit systems are 100 years old and coping with
design features that could never have anticipated even the criminal,
let alone the terrorist, threats of today. Other systems are brand-new,
built using security-minded design concepts and state-of-the-art
In order to ensure an integrated, intermodal response to security
concerns, Secretary Mineta has created the National Infrastructure
Security Committee (NISC). The NISC's mission is to executive
preemptive, preventive, protective, and recovery efforts for critical
elements of the U.S. national transportation system. FTA is working
with NISC, the States, and transit agencies to identify high value/high
consequence transit operations, as well as their current protection
strategies. An initial list has already been developed. We will be
working with NISC and other Federal entities involved in such efforts
to coordinate strategy and minimize duplication of effort. FTA will
also be working with NISC to develop national standards for a prudent
level of protection for categories of critical assets. We will work
with our counterparts within DOT and in other agencies to identify and
close the gaps in security.
The second component of FTA's security initiative is planning.
Effective response to an act of terrorism requires instantaneous and
sound decisionmaking in a volatile, high-pressure environment. Although
our largest transit operations already have emergency response plans,
small- and medium-sized transit agencies are not always well-prepared,
and even our largest agencies need to reexamine their plans in light of
today's potential threats. FTA plans to provide hands-on assistance to
transit agencies as they develop and refine their emergency response
plans in light of their security assessment findings and heightened
terrorist threats. These plans serve as blueprints for action in the
wake of an attack. They articulate the steps to take in order to notify
authorities of the incident, evacuate passengers, protect personnel and
equipment, activate a unified command and communications system among
transit, police, fire, and emergency medical units, and restore the
system to normal. In the wake of a terrorist attack or even a natural
disaster, we cannot afford to lose precious moments simply trying to
figure out what to do; plans must be in place.
The third component of our security initiative involves technology
and capital equipment investments. FTA is evaluating the need for
purchasing equipment and technology to enhance security and emergency
preparedness. These acquisitions may range from personal protective
equipment for train operators and station managers, to surveillance
equipment for stations and facilities, to readying the latest chemical
and explosive detection systems for deployment in transit systems.
The fourth component involves testing. When I visited with the New
York transit officials in the aftermath of the World Trade Center
attack, I asked them what advice they might share with other transit
agencies based on their own experience. Their advice? In addition to
having an emergency response plan in place, they recommend that every
transit agency conduct regular emergency drills--not just fire drills--
to keep skills sharp, update response plans, and build personal
relationships with counterparts in the police, fire, and emergency
medical response organizations. Although regular tests and drills are
routinely recommended by security experts in FTA and elsewhere, there
is nothing like hearing advice from people who have lived it. As a
result, FTA plans to work with local transit agencies to conduct full-
scale emergency drills to test their plans and equipment.
Finally, we will be offering additional security training and
workshops. We intend to expand our free security and emergency response
training to incorporate new
security strategies and tactics, and to give more local transit
employees the opportunity to attend emergency response training. It is
imperative that we have a transit workforce that understands security
issues and is fully prepared to respond should an emergency occur.
In an effort to assist transit operators around the country as they
reevaluate potential security threats, their emergency response plans,
employee training needs, and ways to both reassure and work with the
public to reduce security risks, FTA will soon be mailing a Security
Toolkit to 600 transit agencies throughout the country. The toolkit
will include resource guides, planning tools, training opportunities,
and sample public awareness publications.
FTA is fundamentally a grant-making agency. We manage $8 billion in
grants for programs ranging from the purchase of buses to the
construction of new subway systems. We also provide training and
technical assistance to local transit agencies. We are neither an
operational agency, nor a traditional regulatory agency.
One of the greatest challenges that we all face is ensuring that
the safety and security of our transit systems remains a high priority
in years to come. The sustainability of whatever requirements,
programs, and funding we put in place today must be considered as we
move forward--particularly in light of the other costs that loom on the
horizon. Although a number of brand new systems are being built
throughout the Nation, we also have many aging systems that need
rehabilitation and redesign. And figuring out a way to accomplish all
that needs to be done will be a challenge for every level of
Let me close by, again, thanking the Committee for initiating this
dialogue. I am eager to work with you to keep our communities safe and
PREPARED STATEMENT OF WILLIAM W. MILLAR
President, American Public Transportation Association
October 4, 2001
Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to testify on the
security and safety of public transportation systems. We commend
Congress for its quick response to the horrific terrorist attacks on
September 11, 2001.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a
nonprofit international association of over 1,400 public and private
member organizations including transit systems and commuter rail
operators; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product
and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and
State departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public
interest by providing safe, efficient, and economical transit services
and products. Over 90 percent of persons using public transportation in
the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.
Mr. Chairman, the APTA thanks you, and the Committee on Banking,
Housing, and Urban Affairs, for crafting the Transportation Equity Act
for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which has so effectively improved the
industry's ability to meet demands for capital investment and service.
The legislation has significantly improved our industry's ability to
meet the growing demand for service in urban, suburban, and rural
communities throughout America.
The good news is that TEA-21's increases in Federal investment and
the predictability of those funds has paid off. Public transportation
ridership is up 21 percent over the past 5 years, to the highest levels
in 40 years. The Federal investments in TEA-21 and earlier legislation
enabled the transit industry to develop new transit services, and to
upgrade and modernize older transit infrastructure. This investment
paid enormous dividends on September 11, when public transportation in
New York City and in Washington, DC helped safely evacuate citizens
from center cities. Indeed, this same story was true around the
country, as transit systems quickly and efficiently evacuated people
from closed airports and downtown areas. Mr. Chairman, we remember that
the interstate highway program was begun by President Eisenhower as a
national defense interstate highway program. We can now certainly
recognize that public transportation too has a significant national
defense component, and we are extremely proud of our transit systems in
New York, Washington, DC, and around the country, and how they
responded so successfully to the horrific events of September 11.
Post-September 11 Activities
Mr. Chairman, APTA was honored and pleased that Transportation
Secretary Norm Mineta came to Philadelphia Monday morning to deliver
the keynote address to our Annual Meeting where over 2,000 transit
professionals gathered. He emphasized the importance of public
transportation, and the critical importance of a
continuing focus on safety and security. In particular, he said
``preparation equals performance,'' and I want to assure you that we
are taking that message to heart.
Specifically, let me respond to the Subcommittee's questions
regarding what steps APTA is taking to assist its members in improving
safety, and what would be useful to transit systems in that regard.
On September 19, 2001, we wrote to the Federal Transit
Administration (FTA) offering our full support and cooperation as
the FTA and DOT develop programs and priorities in response to the
tragic events of September 11. In that letter, which is included as
an attachment to this testimony, we provided an initial list of
critical needs for transit-related safety and security functions.
These include capital items, operational items, and research and
development needs in the industry. Needless to say, considerable
investment is needed to begin to make these items available
throughout our industry.
At APTA's Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, we added a special
forum on the events of September 11, and how our transit systems
responded so effectively to it. Officials from New York,
Washington, DC, and other key cities discussed what they did in
responding to the attacks and how they successfully evacuated
citizens safely from center cities. Sharing critical information
and best practices among our membership is one of the strongest
resources we can provide as an association. We will be sharing
these ``lessons learned'' with our membership and the Federal
Together with the Mineta Institute in San Jose, California,
the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials,
and DOT's Research and Special Projects Administration, APTA will
partner in a special invitation-only conference in Washington, DC
in late October to focus on a Mineta Institute study on terrorism
and how to respond to it. This is the beginning of a comprehensive
industry effort to discuss security issues on an ongoing basis at
meetings, seminars, and conferences around the country.
Discussions are underway with the International Union of
Public Transport (UITP) to coordinate efforts among transit systems
worldwide to address safety and security issues.
Finally, we will continue to work closely with the DOT and FTA
in making certain that safety and security remain paramount issues
in our industry and that programs being developed by the DOT
reflect industry needs and operations. We understand that FTA hopes
to make financial and technical assistance available to transit
systems around the country to assess their state of readiness to
meet security threats. We strongly urge that this initiative be
properly funded. Moreover, FTA Administrator Jennifer Dorn also
spoke at our Annual Meeting on Monday, and stated that FTA would be
sending a ``rapid response'' toolbox to every transit system in the
country, and we look forward to collaborating with the FTA in that
Let me now outline for you some of the things we, as the
association for the public transportation industry, do to promote
safety and security in public transportation, and explain how these
plans and programs address significant issues.
Safety and Security Plans
We are proud as an association to have established the industry
standard for transit system safety program plans, which include
security and emergency response elements. In October 1986, APTA
initiated activities to develop a safety management program for the
public transportation industry. A pilot program of high-level, formal
safety audits were scheduled at six volunteer transit systems over an
18 month period. Upon completion of the pilot program, APTA's staff
gathered information from the auditors and participants in the pilot
audits, and produced a report, which recommended a course of action on
safety accreditation. The APTA Manual for the Development of Transit
System Safety Program Plans was a result of these recommendations.
The Manual serves several purposes. It establishes a recommended
format for System Safety Program Plans (SSPP). The SSPP is developed by
each transit system; it identifies all safety-related responsibilities,
and assigns these responsibilities to proper areas within the
organization. A transit system maintains oversight of its safety status
and program to ensure all responsibilities are being carried out and
coordinated. This process is known as System Safety. A transit system
establishes a SSPP in a formal written document. It implements the SSPP
by policy directives from the chief executive officer.
The APTA Manual assists transit systems with established System
Safety Program Plans in the development and definition of their safety
programs. It also provides tangible evidence to the public and
governmental oversight agencies that the transit industry possesses the
means and expertise to develop sound, effective, proactive safety
programs designed to reduce accident potential and increase the
efficiency of transit operations.
A key element of the SSPP is security. Each transit system's safety
program should provide a proactive, prevention-oriented approach to
security. This element emphasizes the importance of identifying
potential threats and areas of vulnerability, developing approaches
that will minimize those threats and vulnerabilities, and demonstrating
a clear and proactive approach to security.
Emergency Response Planning is also a primary component of any
safety program. As such, it must be given constant attention. A typical
process for the component includes an approved, coordinated schedule
for all the emergency response
elements. Meetings with outside agencies, emergency drills, and
revision and distribution of Emergency Response Procedures are
activities that are then scheduled on a periodic basis with necessary
approvals and checks for completion built in. The safety unit of the
transit organization is generally responsible for coordination of these
types of emergency response functions. As part of the regular reports
to general management issued by the safety unit, status reports on
emergency response activities are included. These reports then provide
an audit trail for both internal and external audits.
APTA Safety Management Audit Programs
Once having created a system safety program, the industry next
turned to ways to make sure that systems were implemented in a
comprehensive and voluntary way. As a result, the Safety Management
Audit Program was created to equip transit systems with industry-
created formats for developing a System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) and
to provide formal evaluations on how well those System Safety Program
Plans have been implemented. APTA has a Director of Safety and Security
and a staff of auditors who carry out this work. The audit and program
participation is completely voluntary and is supported by dues paid by
industry participants. The audits are completed every 3 years. There
are three different programs: the Rail Safety Audit Program, the
Commuter Rail Safety Management Program, and most recently the Bus
Safety Management Program.
So successful has APTA's SSPP and audit program been that the APTA
system program plan format and elements within the Rail Safety Audit
Program (including security) are officially recognized by the Federal
Transit Administration in its Rail Safety Oversight regulation at 49
CFR Part 659 as a way of meeting the regulatory requirements for System
Safety Program Plans for fixed guideway systems. The audit includes an
extensive review of all safety-related functions of the organization,
and provides a mechanism for continual improvement for system safety.
However, since each system is unique, the plan must allow for
differences unique to each system.
All but one of the Nation's 18 commuter rail systems participate in
APTA's audit program, and we are in discussions with that remaining
system. Moreover, all rail transit systems in the country participate
either in the APTA Rail Audit Program or in State programs that follow
the guidelines for system safety established by APTA. A similar program
for the Nation's bus systems is being implemented by APTA. This
voluntary program for bus operations similarly includes elements
specific to security and emergency preparedness.
The APTA System Safety Program Plan format and elements within the
Commuter Rail Safety Management Program (including security) are
recognized by the Federal Railroad Administration as a way of meeting
the guidelines for System Safety Program Plans for commuter rail
systems. Each audit addresses policies, processes, and procedures set
out in the transit agency's safety plan and includes a review of
supporting documentation, interviews with agency personnel, and a
variety of operational field observations.
Under our Safety Management Audit Programs, each transit operation
receives the benefit of an independent evaluation of its safety
management processes by a team of experienced safety personnel. This
evaluation plays a critical role in optimizing safety practices at each
This evaluation assists each system's ability to demonstrate its
diligence for safety and the ability of our industry to maintain self-
Other APTA Safety Initiatives
APTA has a Standing Committee on Public Safety that has a forum for
industry personnel involved in policing and security functions to share
information, experiences, and resources. This very active committee has
subcommittees on Operations; Outreach; Professional Development and
Strategic Planning. The committee also conducts a number of workshops
and seminars on transit security in conjunction with APTA's
conferences, and has a working partnership with other security/policing
organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of
Police, the International Railway Police, and the National Organization
of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
APTA has developed a Safety & Security on-line ``list-serve''
resource that enables its members to request information and pose
questions to industry peers on matters pertaining to safety and
APTA and its members have been instrumental in assisting the
development and delivery of programs on transit system security as
provided through the Transportation Safety Institute. Transit system
personnel from numerous agencies continue to benefit from attending
these training programs.
APTA and its members have also assisted in the development and
delivery of the Land Transportation Anti-Terrorism Training Program
that was a joint effort of the Department of Transportation's Office of
Intelligence and Security, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training
Center. Many transit system personnel are benefiting from their
participation in this program.
APTA is engaged in a broad-based standard-setting exercise in a
number of significant areas, and clearly, standards play a key role in
safety and security.
In 1996, APTA's commuter rail members voluntarily undertook an
effort with $2 million of their own funds to create Passenger Rail
Equipment Safety Standards (PRESS). Our commuter rail members are
regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which
participated in the development of these standards. These standards are
reviewed in an ongoing effort and are updated as necessary. As part of
the PRESS program, the FRA, APTA, and the commuter railroads recently
collaborated on a series of 10 courses to prepare railroad employees to
meet new industry-wide training requirements.
With the success of the commuter rail effort, APTA has turned to a
similar initiative for transit rail equipment. Some 27 APTA rail
members will be contributing over $3 million to develop a range of
vehicle design and operational standards over the next 3 years.
In addition, APTA has just been awarded a $400,000 grant by the FTA
to help establish interface standards in the transit industry for
Intelligent Transportation System applications.
All of these standard-setting exercises help the industry bring a
special focus to standardized products and services. These are
activities that clearly help support safety and security goals.
Mr. Chairman, these are just some of the issues that we think can
help improve safety and security of transit services. We again thank
you and the Subcommittee for your commitment to investing in the
Nation's transportation infrastructure and look forward to working with
you on safety and security issues and on the reauthorization of TEA-21.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ROBERT A. MOLOFSKY
General Counsel, Amalgamated Transit Union
October 4, 2001
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, my name is Robert
Molofsky and I am the General Counsel of the Amalgamated Transit Union,
AFL-CIO, CLC, the largest labor union representing transit employees in
the United States and Canada. It is my pleasure to appear here on
behalf of our International President James La Sala to discuss the
ATU's views and concerns about the safety issues facing the transit
industry, as well as to offer recommendations for making our transit
systems safer and addressing the heightened concerns in the wake of the
September 11 terrorist attacks.
As the representative of over 175,000 employees in the transit
industry, maintaining and operating bus, light rail, ferry, over-the-
road bus, school bus, and paratransit vehicles throughout North
America, the ATU views the safety and security of these transit systems
to be of utmost importance. As such, we are extremely grateful for this
Committee's decision to hold this hearing today and for inviting the
ATU to participate on this panel.
This is certainly a difficult time for those in the transportation
industry, and indeed, for all Americans. It has now been 23 days since
this Nation witnessed the horror of the events on September 11. Since
then, President Bush, his Administration and this Congress have shown
remarkable bipartisanship in their efforts to implement new counter-
terrorism measures. The airlines, along with the assistance of the
Federal Government, have adopted stringent new security measures to
better protect America's air travelers. And transit systems throughout
the country, with the full support and assistance of the ATU, have
begun to reexamine existing security procedures and emergency
preparedness plans, in the hopes of preventing further tragedy.
Despite all of these extraordinary measures being taken, we know
that no one is immune from future attacks. Just this week, Bush
Administration officials announced that there will likely be more
terrorist strikes in the United States, possibly including chemical and
This is not news to the ATU or the transit industry, who for years
have faced startling statistics and real life events that have put the
industry on guard for the very real potential of terrorist or quasi-
According to the most recent records of the U.S. Department of
Transportation's Office of Intelligence and Security, in 1998, attacks
against transportation and transportation infrastructures accounted for
42 percent of all international terrorist attacks reported by the U.S.
State Department. The Transportation Research Board found that 34
percent of the violent acts against transportation target rail and
The devastating effects of such attacks against mass transportation
have been seen throughout the world. Ongoing bombing campaigns directed
at the Paris Metro have targeted trains, passenger terminals, and other
rail facilities, resulting in hundreds of casualties. In 1995, between
5,000 and 6,000 people were exposed to sarin gas in the Tokyo subway
system, resulting in 12 deaths and marking the first time chemical or
biological weapons have been deployed on a large scale by terrorists.
And in Israel and Britain, buses have too often been the unfortunate
targets of terrorist bombings.
Mass transit systems in the United States have also figured
prominently in many of these acts of terrorism and extreme violence. In
a survey of transit agencies conducted in 1997, over 90 percent of the
agencies surveyed said they had experienced bomb threats, more than 50
percent with hate crimes, and almost 30 percent with hijackings and
multiple victim shootings. In responding to terrorist events, almost 60
percent of the transit agencies surveyed felt that they were not well
prepared to deal with these kinds of activities. Attachment one
summarizes some of the most violent attacks against mass transportation
in the United States, beginning as far back as 1927, when two bombs
exploded in two New York City subway stations, and as recently as May
2001, when a city bus in Los Angeles was hijacked by an armed gunman
and crashed into a minivan, killing the minivan driver and injuring
Fortunately, these types of terrorist and quasi-terrorist incidents
are rare. However, less severe forms of violence against the operators
of public transportation vehicles are much more common. These frequent
occurrences have plagued the transit industry in the United States for
far too long. Attachment two summarizes some of the assaults against
mass transit operators and vehicles that have occurred since last
December, including the armed hijacking of a bus in Council Bluffs,
Nebraska, the stabbing of a SEPTA bus driver in Delaware County,
Pennsylvania, the brutal beating of another SEPTA driver in
Philadelphia less than 2 months later, and the recent shooting aboard a
Greyhound bus at a midtown Manhattan terminal that wounded four
While the severity of these events may pale in comparison to the
recent tragedies in New York and Washington, DC, these assaults are
nonetheless a serious safety threat to transit personnel, passengers
and to the rest of the traveling public who share the roads with our
mass transportation vehicles. We saw the potential devastation that can
result from such assaults in 1998, when a deranged passenger onboard a
Seattle Metro bus shot and killed bus operator and ATU Local 587 member
Mark McLaughlin, causing the bus to careen off a bridge and resulting
in the death of one passenger and injuring 32 others.
Because public transportation brings masses of people together and
is highly visible and familiar, it is an attractive target for crime.
Transit operators, in particular, are often the victim of such crimes
as they are forced to deal on a daily basis with passengers who become
angry over bus fares, delays, crowded vehicles, and for various other
reasons. Clearly, such crimes result not only in harm to the operator
but also seriously impair the ability of that operator to safely
In response to the prevalence of such violent incidents, the
Amalgamted Tranist Union has for years been steadfastly committed to
addressing the threat of terrorist attacks against mass transportation
and the growing rates of violence and assaults against transit workers
and vehicles. In addition to raising awareness of the issue among our
membership, the ATU has worked along with the transit industry to
implement additional safety and security procedures in the workplace to
protect our members. We have worked with and urged the Federal Transit
Administration to include additional security measures in its model
transit safety programs. And we have worked with Members of Congress to
urge passage of legislation making assault against a transit operator a
Federal crime, the same protection extended to airline pilots and
flight attendants. Significantly, since 1998 with the passage of TEA-
21, Congress, at our urging, has provided increased funding to the
National Transit Institute, enabling it to provide important safety
research and training programs to transit workers.
Over the last two sessions of Congress, we have also supported and
urged passage of the Preparedness Against Domestic Terrorism Act,
currently H.R. 525, originally sponsored by Congresswoman Tillie Fowler
and presently sponsored by Congressman Wayne Gilchrest. This bill,
which was unanimously approved by the Economic Development, Public
Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee and is now pending
before the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, seeks to
improve coordination of Federal efforts with regard to preparedness
against terrorist attacks in the United States. As part of the
development of the Domestic Terrorism Preparedness Plan required by
this bill, an assessment will be required of the risk of terrorist and
quasi-terrorist attacks against transportation, energy, and other
infrastructure facilities, including passengers, personnel, and other
individuals occupying such facilities. In addition, the bill requires
an evaluation of available technologies and practices to determine the
best means of protecting such facilities and persons from terrorist and
I want to take this opportunity to ask the Members of this
Committee to urge their colleagues on the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee, as well as the entire House of
Representatives, to expeditiously pass this long overdue legislation or
incorporate its provisions into other comprehensive security
legislation under consideration. And, if this bill appears before this
body, I ask that you and your Senate colleagues do the same.
While I have painted a rather grim picture of the security threats
facing the transit industry, I would be remiss if I did not point out
that the transit industry is one of the safest forms of transportation.
In fact, according to the National Safety Council, riding a bus is 91
times safer than traveling by car and taking the train is 15 times
safer than a car. One of the primary reasons for this unequaled safety
record is the fact that the professional operators of transit vehicles
are highly trained to drive defensively and anticipate potential safety
Even in the face of the tragic events of September 11, public
transportation systems in New York and Washington, DC responded
quickly, reliably, and efficiently in evacuating people away from the
affected areas and delivering them safely to their homes, churches, and
other chosen destinations. We at the ATU could not be more proud of our
members in these cities who stayed calm in the midst of this national
tragedy and bravely performed the same important public service that
they provide on a daily basis.
In addition to the commitment to employee and passenger safety
demonstrated by New York City Transit and the Washington Metro Area
Transportation Authority, Federal laws and regulations requiring rail
fixed guideway systems to have in place emergency management plans,
were, in part, responsible for the successful way in which these
transit agencies were able to handle the September 11 crisis.
But this does not mean that we are prepared to face what may come
next. If the tragic events that unfolded before our eyes 23 days ago
taught us anything, it is that we cannot rely on traditional notions of
safety and security to protect us from those who are determined to
There must be a thorough reassessment of the threat posed to
transportation facilities--mass transit in particular. We can no longer
rely on these outdated studies from 1997 and 1998 \1\ to tell us what
needs to be done to make America's transit systems safe and secure. We
urge this Committee and Congress to mandate such a study--either
through the passage of H.R. 525, which I discussed earlier, or through
new legislation specifically addressing the needs of mass transit.
\1\ Synthesis of Transit Practice 27--Emergency Preparedness for
Transit Terrorism, Transportation Research Board (1997); Worldwide
Terrorist and Violent Criminal Attacks Against Transportation--1998,
U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Intelligence and Security;
Transit Security Handbook, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
With that said, there are several specific legislative and
regulatory fixes that must be taken now to better ensure the safety of
our transit systems. This is not a time for Best Practices or Model
Safety Plans! There must be defined legislative and regulatory
requirements with respect to the equipment, technology, training, and
personnel needed to prepare, prevent, and respond to any future attacks
or threats. Attachment three is a summary of the current Federal laws
and regulations relating to transit security. We recommend that these
laws and regulations be improved in the following six ways:
First, and foremost, the safety and security requirements which
apply to rail fixed guideway systems should be extended to cover bus
transit systems. There is currently no Federal requirement that bus
transit systems prepare or implement security plans to protect and
prepare bus operators and passengers in emergency situations. This is
absurd given that 23 percent of violent acts against all modes of
transportation occur on transit buses--almost 5,000 incidents alone in
1999, according to the FTA statistics.
Earlier this year, the ATU recommended just that action to the FTA,
who, along with the transit industry and without any request for input
by the affected labor community, is in the process of developing a
Model Transit Bus Safety Program. Attachment four is a copy of our
recommendations to the Agency. As the ATU pointed out, the Draft Report
most recently released by the Agency on April 20, 2001, is seriously
lacking much needed security measures. In fact, the proposal put forth
by the agency includes security measures only as a voluntary element of
any transit bus safety plan.
While, the ATU acknowledges that transit bus systems vary greatly
in services offered, size and resources, and thereby face different
security threats, it is our contention that some basic security
measures must be taken by all transit providers to ensure the safety
and well being of both the operators of the vehicles, as well as the
All transit operators should be trained on how to handle potential
incidents, including instructions on how to defuse situations involving
angry or belligerent riders and how to identify and minimize
potentially dangerous situations. Drivers should be given detailed
protocols to be followed when a violent situation erupts, such as who
to call first for backup, when to stop the bus, when to refuse service
to a passenger, when other passengers should be evacuated from the
vehicle, etc. . . . This training should be required as a basic element
of any safety and security program.
In addition, all systems should, at a minimum, have a formal
agreement with local law enforcement concerning coordination with
transit personnel when security breaches occur. These agreements may be
as basic or complex as necessitated by the individual transit bus
system, considering whether the system has its own police force or
Other security measures, including technological and design
strategies such as lighting, cameras, panic buttons, alarms, and
automated ticketing, should be incorporated as appropriate in every new
or enhanced safety and security program. In implementing such
strategies transit service providers should be required to consult with
representatives of their employees to insure that the specific security
concerns of both passengers and workers are identified and addressed.
Second, Federal law should be amended to require all transit
systems in urban areas to spend a minimum percentage of their formula
grant monies on security measures, without exception. While Federal law
currently requires that at least 1 percent of such grants be spent on
security measures, it allows an exception where the grant recipient
``has decided that the expenditure for security projects is not
necessary.'' At a minimum, this decision should be left up to the
Secretary of Transportation, not the individual transit agencies.
Third, Congress must appropriate sufficient funds to allow transit
agencies to adopt and implement needed security improvements. Clearly,
the above requirements mean nothing without the funds necessary to
carry out the mandates. Resources must be made available for equipment
needs, including the development of devices to detect the presence of
chemical or biological weapons, as well as personnel and training
needs. Specifically, we call upon Congress to increase funding to the
FTA-sponsored National Transit Institute for expanded transit employee
safety and security training. In addition, Congress should consider a
supplemental appropriation to address the immediate needs of our urban
systems to quickly upgrade their security systems. We are prepared to
work with this Committee, Congress, DOT, and industry representatives
to identify the level of emergency funding needed to satisfy these
Fourth, the FTA should develop a National Transit Terrorism Threat
Warning System, similar to the system developed by the Federal Aviation
Administration to warn all operating systems that an attack may be
imminent. The FAA system was critical in responding to the September 11
hijackings, allowing the Agency to immediately ground all flights and
possibly averting further tragedy. Such a system operating in
coordination with the appropriate Federal, State, and local law
enforcement agencies would ensure the issuance of timely and accurate
information required to put potentially targeted systems on high alert.
Fifth, Congress should Federalize penalties for violent assaults on
transit operators. Despite the important public service they provide
and the accompanying risks they face on the job everyday, transit
operators receive very little protection under Federal and State laws.
While a person who assaults an airline pilot or a flight attendant is
subject to Federal penalties, the same deterrent is not applied to
those who attack the bus and rail operators who transport us daily to
work, home, shopping, medical facilities, and other destinations.
Likewise, most State laws treat such attacks only as simple misdemeanor
And finally, the FTA must further improve its transit crime
reporting systems so that the true extent of the threat can be
assessed. While transit agencies are required to report crime
statistics along with other information required by the FTA, many
transit agencies, even those with police divisions, do not appear to
have the capacity to produce reliable crime counts. This is primarily
due to the absence of interagency exchange mechanisms to supply reports
of transit crimes, which transit agencies simply never receive.
The ATU is committed to working with this Committee, Congress, the
Administration, and the transit industry to see that these and other
necessary steps are taken to improve the safety and security of this
Nation's transit systems, personnel, and passengers. While we certainly
hope that none of these plans or warning systems that we have
recommended here today are ever tested, we must nonetheless take all
necessary actions now to enable our transportation system to prevent,
prepare, and respond in the event that we are faced with another
terrorist or quasi-terrorist attack.
Thank you again for inviting the ATU to participate on this panel
here today. We cannot stress enough how important it is to include the
input of the labor community in this discussion. It is our members who
are on the front lines of this battle and it is our members who know
best what dangers they face everyday on the job. We look forward to
working with all of you in the months and years to come to address the
important issues raised here today.
We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF RICHARD A. WHITE
General Manager, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
October 4, 2001
Chairman Reed and Members of the Subcommittee, good afternoon, and
thank you for asking me to testify on the important subject of Transit
Safety in the Wake of September 11. I am Richard White, and I am proud
to serve as General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit
Authority (WMATA) here in the National Capital Region.
The events of September 11 have affected all aspects of national
life. Daily and routine events like business trips, vacation travel,
and commuting have been changed forever. Although WMATA handled its
mission well on that tragic day, we now face altered expectations,
especially from our Federal customer base. Safety and security are of
concern for each of the 1.1 million daily trips on the system, and it
is our obligation to continue to ensure that Metrorail and Metrobus
operations provide our customers safe passage, so the important work of
the National Capital Region can continue.
Before responding to your questions regarding safety, I would like
to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of our New York and New Jersey
colleagues. They were heroes in their communities. Earlier this week I
attended the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation
Association (APTA) and heard firsthand some of the courageous and brave
acts performed by transit employees, acts which saved thousands of
lives that otherwise would have been lost in the subway tunnels that
ran underneath the World Trade Center complex. In those and other
systems across the Nation, America's transit customers were safeguarded
on that sad day. And, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I
believe that WMATA and transit systems across the country will play an
even greater role in our national defense and national security in the
months and years ahead.
On September 11, when WMATA was needed most, and amid regional
chaos, Metrorail and Metrobus were ready, and delivered for the
National Capital Region. We operated the equivalent of back-to-back
rush hours virtually without incident, after the Federal Government and
other regional employers sent hundreds of thousands of workers home
around mid-morning. We were operating the entire day. We did what we do
best. We moved large numbers of people safely and efficiently.
Throughout the day, the WMATA workforce performed extraordinarily.
Not once did an employee put their own individual concerns ahead of
their sense of duty to the customers. The transit police, the bus and
rail operators, the station personnel, the customer service
representatives--everyone--demonstrated their dedication to our mission
of moving people safely and securely.
Further, we never lost communications throughout the day. We
established and maintained contact with local, State, and Federal
authorities, and we communicated with our riders through in-system
messages, our phone system and over the Internet through the website.
WMATA, blessedly, suffered no property damage, no loss of life, and
no injury to any of its employees nor to any of our customers on that
I would be happy to provide the specific details of our actions
that day, but now I would like to address the safety questions raised
in your invitation letter.
The most significant issue facing WMATA is adapting to the post-
September 11 reality that our freedom of mobility has been challenged.
Security is paramount in the minds of our riders. WMATA is considered
one of the safest transit systems in the country, but we are always
reviewing ways to meet the obligation of providing greater security for
the riders of the region's public transportation. Currently, WMATA does
annual counter-terrorism training for police and operations personnel,
does explosive device training, provides bomb containment trash cans,
participates in numerous interagency disaster-related drills, has 1,400
cameras monitoring the rail system and participates in the testing of
emergency technology. WMATA is partnering with the scientific community
and the Federal Government in an ongoing program for chemical and
biological protection. For security reasons I cannot discuss the
details of this program, but chemical sensors have been installed and
are being tested in the system as part of the effort to protect
customers, first-line emergency responders and employees. The intent is
to share the results of the program with the transit industry in this
country and around the world.
In addition, the WMATA has identified a number of enhancements to
current security. These enhancements, at a projected cost of
approximately $20 million, will allow the recording of security-related
incidents, will enhance the intrusion-monitoring capability in
Metrorail, will add technology at rail yards and bus garages and will
limit access to secure facilities to authorized persons only. We are
currently completing a comprehensive review of procedures, facilities,
and security enhancements, such as cameras on buses, global positioning
systems for buses, and sensor systems, in an effort to identify all
other potential security needs and their associated costs. Completing
this review and implementing additional security enhancements should go
a long way toward assuring our riders that public transit continues to
be safe in the post-September 11 world.
Since September 11 we have taken a number of actions to demonstrate
to riders that we are prepared and are providing security. Our Metro
Transit Police have assumed a higher level of recognition within the
system, along with operations personnel wearing orange vests. The Metro
Transit Police are providing the highest possible level of presence
through the use of overtime. On Thursday, September 20, a ``Dear Fellow
Rider'' letter was distributed to customers to engage them in our
security efforts and to ask them to help to be our eyes and ears. We
are reemphasizing security vigilance to all personnel and completing
instruction as needed. We are conducting an updated risk assessment of
facilities, and we have introduced new security measures in our
headquarters building. Finally, we are actively engaged in a dialogue
with others around the country and the world seeking best practices.
Our objective is to be prepared and to reassure riders in the region
that their freedom of mobility has not been compromised.
What we learned on that day was that it is critical that there are
reliable and redundant communication systems and that there is an open
exchange of information with other local and Federal agencies. There
needs to be a regional evacuation plan developed in cooperation with
local, State, and Federal agencies. Such a plan is now in development
on an expedited basis in the National Capital Region.
Further, there needs to be regular and ongoing communication with
riders. For example, we learned the value of our website, which had
double the usual number of hits that day--over 23,000. Also, our
telephone call center handled over 13,000 calls, almost twice the daily
To improve safety, I believe all transit properties should do the
Make sure they have good emergency plans. The Federal Transit
Administration (FTA) requires two plans--a system safety plan and a
system security plan. Every agency needs to have them and they need
to be thorough.
Make sure they have a high level of employee training and
awareness. And, then, drill, drill, drill.
Make sure they have a high level of interagency coordination
with the appropriate police, fire, and emergency rescue personnel.
Know your partners, and have roles and responsibilities well
defined and understood before an incident takes place.
Make sure communication systems--both internal and external--
are adequate and in good working order.
To improve transit safety, I believe the Federal Government should
consider the following:
Having the FTA conduct a security readiness assessment of all
Having the FTA provide technical assistance to systems in
preparing good safety and security plans and in conducting training
Having the FTA be a facilitator of information through the
exchange of national and international best practices and through
linkage with the Department of Transportation's Intelligence and
Security Office and the new Office of Homeland Security.
Exploring and making the best use of technology.
Ensuring that various Federal agencies with regulatory
responsibility coordinate their activities with the transit
Coordinating intelligence sharing.
Supporting necessary long- and short-term investments in order
to provide enhanced security and expanded system capacity.
There was much talk of transit's ability to shape the nature of the
first major transportation bill of the 21st Century, at the APTA annual
conference this week. In closing, I would like to propose that now is
the time for the Nation to consider certain transit properties as part
of the national defense system, and to contemplate their value and
needs as the evacuation method of choice, and possibly necessity,
during specific emergency situations. Every mode of transportation is
important during emergencies, but transit has experienced the highest
growth rate of any of the transportation modes over the past 5 years.
It is able to move people much more quickly and efficiently than
congested roads and highways can. The Nation needs to view our transit
systems in this national defense context in order to properly recognize
the new reality.
Thank you for holding a hearing on this important subject. I look
forward to answering your questions.
RESPONSE TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS OF SENATOR SARBANES FROM JENNIFER
Federal law requires that transit grant recipients spend at
least 1 percent of their formula money on transit security
projects, such as ``increased lighting . . .increased camera
surveillance . . .[or] an emergency telephone line to contact
law enforcement or security personnel.'' (49 U.S.C.
5307(d)(1)(J)). The law also gives the grant recipient the
option to certify to FTA that the required security expenditure
Q.1. What steps does the FTA take to ensure that transit
agencies are making adequate investments in system security?
How many systems have certified that this expenditure is
unnecessary? Does the FTA review transit agencies' security
plans before accepting the certification?
A.1. Every grantee receiving formula funds under 49 U.S.C. 5307
is required to certify that 1 percent of those funds is spent
for security or that such expenditures are unnecessary.
Although the FTA tracking system currently does not distinguish
between transit systems that certify that the funds are
unnecessary and those that expend the 1 percent, it is being
modified to do so in the near future.
FTA verifies that a grantee is in compliance with its
annual certifications as part of the triennial review process
by examining each transit agency's security expenditures. Of
the approximately 150 triennial reviews conducted in fiscal
year 2001, FTA determined that three transit systems were not
in compliance with their certification and were required to
take immediate corrective action.
Section 5330 of Title 49, U.S.C., requires, among other
things, that a State establish a safety program plan for each
fixed guideway mass transportation system in the State.
Pursuant to FTA's implementing regulation, each rail transit
system must develop and implement a System Security Program
Plan that is reviewed and approved by a State safety oversight
agency. The State oversight agency submits an Annual
Certification and Report to FTA in which it certifies the
security oversight activities it performed during the year.
Grantees receiving Section 5307 formula funds that do not have
fixed guideway mass transportation are not statutorily required
to develop a security plan.
Q.2. TEA-21 also allows FTA to make grants to transit agencies
for the purpose of crime prevention and security (49 U.S.C.
5321). How many grants have been made pursuant to this section,
and for what purposes? Under what criteria does FTA review
these grant applications?
A.2. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5321, funds for capital grants from
amounts made available under 49 U.S.C. 5338 may be used for
crime prevention and security. Thus, Section 5321 does not
create a separate program, but makes crime prevention and
security an eligible expense for FTA capital assistance. It is
rarely possible to describe a project as serving crime
prevention/security purposes exclusively. For example,
automatic vehicle locating (AVL) systems are typically
installed to improve transit operation efficiency, but have the
added benefit of improving transit security. Similarly, radio
systems permit the exchange of information in the event of
equipment malfunction or other operational problems, and also
permit the reporting of emergencies and security incidents.
Consequently, programs for improving or upgrading security are
normally incorporated in a grantee's application for funds,
which must meet the applicable eligibility criteria under the
FTA's capital assistance programs.
RESPONSE TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS OF SENATOR CORZINE FROM JENNIFER
Q.1. The Administration is establishing an Office of Homeland
Security, What role will this office play in guaranteeing the
safety of our mass transit system?
A.1. The Office of Homeland Security will coordinate the
Executive Branch's efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent,
protect against, and recover from acts of global or domestic
terrorism within the United States. The Federal Transit
Administration (FTA), through the Department of Transportation
(DOT), will assist the Office of Homeland Security in
developing and implementing homeland security activities and
policies that will help to ensure the safety of the Nation's
mass transit systems.
Q.2. What steps are the Federal Transit Administration and the
Department of Transportation taking to ensure bus safety? Do
you consider these measures adequate and, if not, what more do
you think needs to be done?
A.2. Over the past several months, FTA has been developing a
Model Transit Bus Safety Program in close coordination with the
transit bus industry, including the Amalgamated Transit Union
(ATU), Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA),
American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and American
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
(AASHTO). The Program attempts to create a uniform and
consistent transit bus safety program for the transit industry
by offering core safety elements that every transit bus
provider should have as part of a minimum safety program. FTA,
ATU, CTAA, APTA, and AASHTO are in agreement these core
Employee Selection and Training
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs
Safety Data Acquisition and Analysis
The Model Transit Bus Safety Program will discuss what
measures should be undertaken by transit agencies in each of
these core areas. Prior to the events of September 11, 2001,
measures included elements that help prevent crimes against
transit personnel and property. Now, the program also includes
elements that help thwart sabotage and terrorist attacks
against transit agencies, their employees, and the riding
public. FTA will develop guidance documents that will discuss
how each measure, including security measures, should be
implemented by transit agencies. These guidance documents will
be developed with the collective assistance of transit labor
unions and transit industry representatives. In view of the
events of September 11, development of the security guidance
document will be expedited.
The FTA has received a commitment from the transit industry
to promote and monitor the Model Transit Bus Safety Program.
Accordingly, FTA believes there is adequate support from the
transit industry to implement the model program without
additional regulation. FTA will monitor implementation of the
program and, in particular, progress made in the area of
Q.3. New Jersey Transit is facing additional ongoing costs
related to the tragedy on September 11 at the World Trade
Center. For example, New Jersey Transit has initiated a ferry
service from Liberty State Park to lower Manhattan for its bus
riders who can no longer travel through the Holland Tunnel.
There is no additional fee to riders for this service, but
there is a substantial cost to New Jersey Transit. In addition,
New Jersey Transit is honoring Port Authority Trans-Hudson
(PATH) fare passes on its Hudson Bergen Light Rail; again,
without any cost to the rider but at a cost to New Jersey
What efforts are the Administration considering to
reimburse these and other ongoing costs that New Jersey has
incurred as a result of the tragedy on September 11? Would the
Administration consider declaring New Jersey a disaster area,
like New York, in order for it to be eligible for reimbursement
for these costs?
A.3. The Administration has proposed that $4.9 billion of the
$40 billion Congress recently made available in the 2001
Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act be appropriated to
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief
Fund to support relief efforts in New Jersey, New York, and
Virginia in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. If
appropriated, the funds will be used to rebuild damaged transit
facilities and other critical public infrastructure, remove
debris from the World Trade site, and help individual victims.
The FTA has been informed that FEMA has authority under its
Public Assistance Program to fund the capital and operating
expenses incurred by State, local governments, and certain
private nonprofit organizations associated with the provision
of emergency transportation required as a result of a
Presidentially declared disaster or emergency, FEMA has
informed FTA that increased expenses incurred by a New Jersey
public ferry operator or its contractor due to emergency
transportation needs directly related to the September 11
disaster would be eligible under that program. The FTA strongly
supports the Administration's position that funds be made
available for relief efforts in response to September 11. We
will continue to work with FEMA to identify funds that should
be allocated to mass transit needs, including the provision of
Q.4. Does the Administration support efforts to provide Amtrak
with almost $1 billion for tunnel and life safety upgrades, as
proposed by Senator Biden and by several other Senators? Does
the Administration consider the condition of these tunnels--
which lie along the Northeast corridor in New York, Washington,
and Baltimore--to be a matter of transit safety, given the fact
that the tunnels are shared by other transit systems?
A.4. Amtrak, an intercity railroad, owns the tunnels that lie
along the Northeast corridor in New York, Baltimore, and
Washington. The Federal Railroad Administration has regulatory
responsibility for ensuring the safety of these tunnels. The
Railroad Advancement and Infrastructure Law for the 21st
Century, S. 1530, was introduced on October 11, 2001, by
Senators Hollings, Biden, Breaux, Cleland, Schumer, Kerry,
Rockefeller, Carper, Jeffords, and Durbin. The bill, among
other things, authorizes funding for Amtrak safety, security,
and infrastructure needs and includes $998 million for tunnel
improvements on the Northeast corridor. On October 15, the Rail
Security Act of 2001, S. 1550, was introduced by Senator
Hollings. This bill contains the identical provisions for
tunnel improvements as S. 1530. The Administration supports the
concept of strengthening and improving the safety of America's
rail system, such as recognizing that funds would only become
available if provided through the appropriations process. The
Administration opposes the inclusion of nonsecurity/life
safety-related infrastructure projects, or amendments that
would repeal the regimen of fiscal discipline imposed by the
current statutory requirements for Amtrak self-sufficiency,
barring the establishment of an alternative that imposes
similar discipline. Given Amtrak's severe financial
difficulties, the establishment of such an alternative would be
more appropriately fashioned through dialogue between the
Administration and Congress in the context of an early
reauthorization of intercity passenger rail programs.
Q.5. One concern in New Jersey is the need for additional rail
cars and buses to deal with the crush of extra capacity as a
result of the tragedy on September 11. Do you support providing
additional funding to transit systems like New Jersey's that
are experiencing these severe capacity problems so that they
may buy the additional rail cars and buses they need?
A.5. As indicated in response to question 3 above, FEMA has
authority under its Public Assistance Program to fund the
capital and operating expenses incurred by State, local
governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations
associated with the provision of emergency transportation
required as a result of a Presidentially declared disaster or
emergency. It is FTA's understanding that the costs of
additional rail cars and buses to address emergency
transportation needs directly related to the September 11
disaster would be eligible under FEMA's Public Assistance
Program. The FTA will work with FEMA and New Jersey Transit
officials should New Jersey Transit apply to FEMA for such
RESPONSE TO WRITTEN QUESTION OF SENATOR REED
FROM WILLIAM W. MILLAR
Q.1 Generally, what on average does a transit system spend on
security? And also, if you could help give us your perspective
as to what might be an adequate level.
A.1. It is important to note that the Federal transit law (49
USC 5307(d)(1)(J)(i)) provides that at least 1 percent of the
amount that an FTA grantee receives each fiscal year under the
formula program must be allocated to security projects. In the
event that the FTA grantee determines that such expenditure is
not necessary, a request for exemption must be submitted to the
Secretary of Transportation.
Beyond this Federal requirement, transit agencies provide
for system security and policing in various ways. Some transit
agencies maintain dedicated transit police forces, some
contract for policing services with local police jurisdictions
and some contract for security services through private
companies or maintain a mix of dedicated and contracted
services. Smaller transit systems will typically establish a
working demand-response community relationship with their local
In terms of quantifying capital funding expenditures for
transit security, there is no comprehensive source of
information that provides that information. Such expenditures
and projects often are part of broader activities that can have
a direct impact on security but are not considered ``security''
projects. An example would be the upgrading of radio
communications. It should also be noted that transit agencies
engage in security-related infrastructure funding campaigns
that can vary widely from year to year depending upon the
stages of infrastructure life-cycles and prior existence of
In short, a definitive response to the question of security
funding requirements for transit systems is difficult to
determine as individual agency needs vary widely according to
system configuration, service interface and complexity,
demographics, system age, and regional disparities in funding
Specifically in response to your question, however, APTA
recently conducted a quick general survey of its members that
included questions on security initiatives and funding levels.
From this survey it appears that operating budgets for security
and policing range between 2 percent to 5 percent of transit
agency total operating budgets, but note the qualifying points
we state above.
With respect to what might be an adequate level of funding
for transit security funding needs that have arisen due to
terrorist activities, enclosed is a general list of recommended
requirements with estimated funding needs we recently compiled.
RESPONSE TO WRITTEN QUESTION OF SENATOR ALLARD
FROM WILLIAM W. MILLAR
Q.1. Mr. Millar, in your testimony, you talked about providing
some audit services to your membership. We heard from the
previous panel that they also provide audit services. Do we
have a duplication of effort here?
A.1. The previous panel noted that security-related audit
services are available through the FTA upon the request of
transit agencies. It is our understanding that the one-time
audit services provided by the FTA relate specifically to
In contrast, the audit services provided by APTA are one
component of our comprehensive APTA Rail, Commuter Rail, and
Bus Operations Safety Management Programs. The APTA audits are
conducted once every 3 years and address overall safety
programs, policies, and procedures as they relate to prescribed
elements of a transit System Safety Program Plan. Security and
emergency preparedness are two of twenty-four elements
prescribed in such plans. In our view, there is no duplication
of effort between the audits of FTA and APTA. Indeed, the
respective audits are complementary and provide transit
agencies with an enhanced level of assessment of their security