Says Program Needs More Funds to Ensure Security for Traveling Public
Washington, DC – Today, the American Bus Association – the leading trade organization of the intercity bus industry – congratulates the 90 recipients of the fiscal year 2016 Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) 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.
While the industry received $3 million in IBSGP funding this year, the program remains over-subscribed. In 2016, more than $23 million in requests were submitted to the program.
“The safety and security of our passengers, drivers and buses is our number one priority,” said ABA President & CEO Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS. “Our members have committed to improving motorcoach security. We need Congress and our partners at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue providing access to these critical funds, which allows the private motorcoach industry to ensure bus transportation remains secure.”
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.
“This essential funding for our industry is constantly targeted by Congress and the Administration, when now is the time to bolster the security of our public transportation system,” Pantuso said. “ABA will continue to work to secure additional federal monies to assist our members’ pursuit of security enhancements and safer operations.”
Since 2003, ABA members have received nearly 92 percent of the $102 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 $93 million to secure the nation’s private motorcoach industry and help protect this valuable portion of America’s transportation industry.
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.
For this year’s round of grants, ABA partnered with C.A.T. Eyes to help provide ABA members with access to tools and expertise for the grants process. C.A.T. Eyes has been successful in past years in working with the industry in developing winning grant applications as well as providing training and managing post award grant administration duties.
To view a list of FY 2016 grant recipients, please click here.