Transit Security Funding Bill Clears House Hurdle
Reps To Vote On Streamlined Grants
Rep. Bob Turner announced that the Public Transportation Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act—a bill he introduced to allow the NYPD to quickly receive federal grants for counterterrorism programs—was approved by the House Homeland Security Committee last Wednesday, May 9.
As noted, Turner introduced the bill (H.R. 3857) in January of this year in an effort to ensure that specialized patrol teams such as NYPD’s Transit Operational Response Canine Heavy Weapons (TORCH) team will have faster access to federal funding.
According to an analysis released last month by the Mineta Transportation Institute, there were 15 foiled terrorist plots aimed at public transportation between 1997 and 2010— five of which targeted New York.
“With the ever-increasing sophistication of terrorist organizations, we must ensure that law enforcement has the equipment and manpower to keep our commuters safe,” said Turner. “This bill will streamline the process to ensure that specialized patrol teams, such as NYPD’s TORCH team, have access to the necessary funding to keep them operational. This is a crucial step in helping the NYPD protect our citizens and visitors from all over the world. I will continue to advocate for New York’s security through programs such as TORCH, and I look forward to voting for this bill on the House floor.”
The bill, which Turner has been working on since his first month in office, has the support of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
“The measure will provide muchneeded continuity for the federal funding of crucial anti-terror measures, and in the process help keep New York City’s transit system secure in the face of terrorist plots, several of which have surfaced since 9/11,” Kelly said.
Turner’s bill has also received support from Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King.
“I am pleased that the Committee has passed this important legislation that will improve the security of the millions of New Yorkers who utilize the subway and other mass transit,” King said.
H.R. 3857 will allow Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) funds to be used to sustain specialized patrol teams that secure our nation’s mass transit systems. Teams eligible to receive this funding include the NYPD TORCH team. This elite unit, which receives TSGP funds, is comprised of Emergency Service Unit officers with heavy weapons, canine units, and side officers from the NYPD Intelligence Division and Counterterrorism Bureau.
These teams patrol subway, bus, and train stations; ferry terminals; city landmarks; and other critical infrastructure to keep Americans safe.
“I would like to thank Chairman King for his continued leadership on this issue,” Turner concluded. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to get this bill to the floor for a vote.”
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