Governor announces grant to make BART riders more secure


Governor announces grant to make BART riders more secure

Mayors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom play key role in securing funding

Today, August 23, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office announced the Governor is granting BART $2.9 million to make riders more secure against terrorist attacks.

"Since 9/11 the federal government has been giving mass transit just a small fraction of the huge amounts of money it's been directing toward the airlines," BART Board Director James Fang said. "We're getting this money because Governor Schwarzenegger has taken a leadership role in making sure mass transit systems like BART are much more secure. We are truly appreciative to the Governor for this grant. BART will use the funds to further secure critical BART infrastructure, which millions of riders use every year."

For security reasons, BART isn't releasing specific details on the improvements.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom played a key role in getting the $2.9 million. The mayors personally contacted Governor Schwarzenegger by jointly sending a July 14, 2006 letter that advised him about the security issue.

"Barely a month after that letter we learned the Governor would give BART the full $2.9 million the mayors requested," said BART Board Vice President Lynette Sweet, who chairs the BART Board's Security Committee. "I want to personally thank Mayor Brown and Mayor Newsom for asking the Governor for the money on behalf of BART and its 340,000 daily riders. We are also deeply appreciative to Governor Schwarzenegger for understanding the needs of BART riders and allocating the full amount of money without hesitation."

The $2.9 million is the largest single grant of money BART has received since 9/11 through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) process. The UASI process is how cities and counties receive counterterrorism funds from the federal government.

Since 9/11 BART has only received $188,000 through the UASI process. This single grant is 15 times the amount in the last 5 years.

Four independent security assessments have determined that BART has $250 million in security needs. Today's grant is a step toward meeting those needs.

Since 9/11 BART has spent $21 million on security, but has only been reimbursed $9 million by the federal government.

While today's grant is a welcome addition to BART's counterterrorism funds, finding more money will be difficult through the federal process. "That's why we are thankful that Governor Schwarzenegger and State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) have taken a leadership role in making sure $1 billion of the $19.9 billion infrastructure bond, which the Governor put on the November ballot, will go toward transportation security," BART Board President Carole Ward Allen said. "We are hopeful voters will pass the infrastructure bond so that BART and other mass transit systems can reduce the critical items on their security needs lists."