ABA offers its congratulations to the 39 recipients of the fiscal year 2018 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 and security 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 2018 grants were unique in that they required a 50 percent private cost match or in-kind contribution to secure funding.
Since 2003, ABA members have received nearly 93 percent of the $108 million in grant funding awarded to the motorcoach industry by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ABA members have further demonstrated their commitment to security by expending tens of millions of dollars of their own money as in-kind contributions or matching funds to help secure the nation’s private motorcoach industry and help protect this valuable portion of America’s transportation industry.
“Passenger safety is the number one priority of our industry and our companies have been taking the necessary steps to protect their precious cargo and get them to their destinations safely,” said Peter Pantuso, ABA president & CEO. “The U.S. motorcoach industry does not want to be a soft target as it is in other countries. 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.”
In addition to the ongoing debate in Washington, D.C. tied to funding the border wall and producing a long-term sustainable infrastructure funding streams, there is also a long-standing budgetary battle within DHS that could put monies for bus security at risk in future years. Already this program has been targeted and zeroed out by the Administration in the past, and had its funding reduced the past few grant cycles. Congress is not yet united in its support of this important program. ABA needs your help as we finally have a sliver of hope in securing additional funding for FY 2019.
ABA will be following up with all FY 2018 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.
Did you apply for a security grant and not receive funding? Tell us about it! Let ABA connect you with your member of Congress to tell them how important this program is and what an impact it will have on your operations. Please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your security grant project and how much you applied for.