House Passes Homeland Security Legislation to Improve Mass Transit Security

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed important legislation to improve mass transit security.  H.R. 3857, the Public Transit Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act, within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), has earned bipartisan support.

Chairman King said: “Congressman Turner is to be commended for this legislation.  Specialized patrol teams, such as NYPD’s TORCH teams, are vital and effective at bolstering the security of our vulnerable mass transit systems.  Allowing transit systems to utilize Transportation Security Grant Program funding to sustain such teams will ensure that travelers are better protected.”

H.R. 3857, the Public Transit Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act, introduced by Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY), improves public transit security by codifying specialized patrol teams as an eligible use for Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) funds and authorizes the TSGP program for an additional year.  Until recent administrative action by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, transit systems could not apply for TSGP funding to support the sustainment of specialized patrol teams without a waiver from the Secretary. This bill would permanently improve the efficiency of the TSGP and allow transit systems and the law enforcement that secure them to have more certainty in planning for future security initiatives.  The bill previously passed by voice vote from the Full Committee on May 9.

Rep. Turner said: “With the ever-increasing sophistication of terrorist organizations, it is critical we make sure that law enforcement has the equipment and manpower necessary to keep those who utilize mass transportation systems safe.  This bill will streamline the process to ensure that specialized patrol teams, such as NYPD’s TORCH teams, have access to the necessary funding to keep them operational. This is a crucial step in helping the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies protect citizens and visitors from all over the world.”

H.R. 3857 passed the House today by a vote of 355-62.

For more information on the legislation passed today, visit the Committee on Homeland Security website.


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