TSA commends 13 mass transit and rail agencies for highest security levels

Four of the agencies are from the New York City region
Local Press Release
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NEW YORK - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority/ New York City Transit (MTA/NYCT), the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), which is part of the Port Authority of  New York and New Jersey, Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak are four of 13 agencies nationwide that earned the Transportation Security Administration’s highest rating of “Gold Standard” on their 2015 Baseline Assessments for Security Enhancement for their dedication to building a strong security program.

The BASE program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. This voluntary comprehensive review of transit agency security programs focuses on multiple categories identified by the transit community as fundamentals for a sound transit security program. They include a review of topics such as an agency’s security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs. The BASE program analyzes the security program for each transit system and identifies opportunities to further enhance security.

“These agencies are to be commended for their commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires and for their continued dedication to ensure the security of travelers nationwide,” said TSA Assistant Administrator Eddie Mayenshein, who oversees the Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement.

These agencies were reviewed in 2015 and attained high scores across all categories. TSA considered this caliber of performance as reaching a “Gold Standard” and recognized them for having strong security programs. TSA continues to work with all transit agencies across the country to develop and implement robust security practices system-wide.

In addition to MTA/NYCT, PATH, Metro-North and Amtrak, the other agencies recognized for achieving the Gold Standard in 2015 were: Central Ohio Transit Authority; Miami-Dade Transit; Denver Regional Transportation District; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; Pace-Suburban Bus Division in the Chicago area; New Orleans Regional Transit Authority; North County Transit District of North San Diego County; Port Authority Transportation Corporation, which is the high speed train line between Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia; and Minnesota Metro Transit, which serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

The BASE program was developed to increase domain awareness, enhance prevention and protection capabilities and further response preparedness of transit systems nationwide. BASE is aimed at meeting the requirements in the 9/11 Commission Act's security assessment section, which directs TSA to identify critical assets, infrastructure and systems and their vulnerabilities and assist bus and public transportation authorities to address their security programs.