ABA Announces Bus Security Grant Funding Recipients (July 30, 2015)
The American Bus Association would like to recognize the 82 recipients of the fiscal year 2015 Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP) funds to implement strategies, exercises, training and technologies designed to mitigate threats to passengers and facilities of motorcoach operators.
ABA members have used the federal dollars to bolster motorcoach safety in a variety of ways, including building fencing perimeters, adding security cameras, buying metal detection screening equipment, installing driver shields, enabling global positioning satellite tracking (GPS), developing security plans, conducting vulnerability assessments and taking advantage of training exercises to coordinate response efforts with law enforcement and other first responders.
It is no surprise that security is an issue of primary concern. Since September 11, ABA members have taken steps to continue to demonstrate that the motorcoach industry is best prepared for the next security incident, working diligently to minimize threats to their passengers and operations often without the benefit of federal funding. The FY 2015 grants were unique in that there was no private cost match or in-kind contribution required to secure funding.
Since 2003, ABA members have received nearly 92 percent of the $99 million in grant funding awarded to the motorcoach industry by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), meaning that ABA members have received more than $91 million to secure the nation’s private motorcoach industry and help protect this valuable portion of America’s transportation industry.
“We’ve seen that our members have been committed to improving motorcoach security. We have encouraged all bus operators to take all of the necessary steps to protect their precious cargo, as passenger safety is our #1 priority. Now we need Congress and our partners at the Department of Homeland Security to step up and continue to provide access to these critical funds, which allow the private motorcoach industry to continue to ensure bus transportation remains secure,” said ABA President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS.
In addition to the ongoing debate in Washington, D.C. to resolve the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund as well as battling the federal debt limit and producing a long-term highway reauthorization bill, there is also a long-standing budgetary battle within DHS that could result in the remaining monies authorized for bus security to diminish or disappear in future years. Already this program has been targeted and zeroed out by the Administration each of the past three years. Congress is not yet united in its support of this important program. ABA needs your help to maintain our current $3 million IBSGP funding.
ABA will be following up with all FY 2015 grantees to garner additional information about their security grant projects to provide briefings to important members of Congress to help continue this essential grant program. “ABA will continue to work to secure additional federal monies to assist our members’ pursuit of security enhancements and safer operations,” Pantuso said.
For this year’s round of grants, ABA partnered with C.A.T. Eyes and United States Transit Funding to help provide ABA members with access to tools and expertise for the grants process. Both companies have been successful in past years in working with the industry in developing winning grant applications as well as managing post award grant administration duties. ABA encourages all members to utilize our strategic partner’s services on your next grant application, whether it is for security, the Federal Transit Administration’s 5311(f) program or another grant programs