February 21, 2011 | Issue #91

Obama Administration Cuts Inter-City Bus Security Funds in 2012 Budget

Bookmark and Share

President Barack Obama's newly released fiscal year 2012 budget recommends cutting the highly successful Inter-City Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP). This news has ABA and the motorcoach industry concerned.

The IBSGP was established to provide funding to create a sustainable program for the protection of intercity bus systems and the traveling public from terrorism. The program seeks to assist operators of fixed route intercity and charter bus services in obtaining the resources required to support security measures such as enhanced planning, facility security upgrades, and vehicle and driver protection. Since 2003, more than $83 million in grants have been awarded to the motorcoach industry.

The Obama Administration has justified cutting IBSGP because it reports that a "threat assessment" has not been completed for motorcoach travel. But, it turns out, that is not accurate. "A threat assessment of the motorccoach industry was completed in the latter part of 2010 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)," said Norm Littler, ABA vice president of Regulatory & Industry Affairs. "And that report concluded that the IBSGP is affective and that the government should continue to fund it. I am not sure why, but it looks like DHS's report was never given to the people responsible for planning the budget."

ABA President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, said, "When talking about passenger safety and security, it should not matter if the person chooses to take a plane, train, or motorcoach to move from point to point,". He continued "Every person in this country has the right to feel like their government is fully vested in making sure they are safe from threats both foreign and domestic. While we applaud the efforts of the Administration to reduce the federal deficit, it should not be done at wanton disregard for members of the traveling public."

There is still hope for IBSGP, though. Before Obama's budget becomes law, it must first go through the Congress. "We are going to work with our friends on the Hill to ensure that the IBSGP is fully funded," said Clyde J. Hart Jr., senior vice president for Government Affairs and Policy. "The Administration has tried to cut the program for the past several years, and we have always been able to stop them. I am hopeful that we will be able to stop them again this year. "