TSA announces transit security grant for Harris County

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National Press Release
Monday, May 21, 2007

WASHINGTON – A $1,501,349 grant to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) for improving rail security was announced today by John Sammon, assistant administrator of the Office of Transportation Sector Network Management (TSNM) at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The award is part of $14.2 million in grants to Tier II urban areas across the nation, made available by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through its Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP). Resources provided by the program strengthen the nation's ability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies that could impact the country's critical infrastructure.

"This award will help METRO conduct front-line employee training, which is a key transit security fundamental and is absolutely vital to the success of every security program," said Sammon. "METRO has been a key partner in developing our nation's transit security posture and was instrumental in the development of this national training program."

"The $1.5 million transit security grant will provide terrorism awareness and response training for operators, supervisors, mid-level managers and operations control center staff," said METRO Police Chief Thomas Lambert.

The Transit Security Grant Program utilizes a two-tiered, risk-based approach that focuses on high risk and high consequence transit systems. On May 9, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff announced $157 million in funding to eight Tier I urban areas which have high passenger density and rail systems with significant infrastructures, such as underwater tunnels and stations and ferry systems. The remaining 44 eligible urban areas competed for the $14.2 million of Tier II funds.

TSGP Tier II award guidance places a strong emphasis on front-line employee training. Nationwide, 68 percent of Tier II awards went to front-line employee training programs. The remaining awards were for other high priority projects to include emergency drills, protecting high risk/high consequence infrastructure, and public awareness programs that support overall system preparedness.

The Transit Security Grant Program takes threat, vulnerability and consequences into consideration, and recognizes the unique characteristics of our nation's seaports, transit systems and other critical infrastructure assets. TSGP is part of Homeland Security's Infrastructure Protection Program, which since 2003 has awarded nearly $2 billion to critical infrastructure sectors.

For information on allocations, please visit www.dhs.gov.