CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3857, the Public Transit Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on January 31, 2012, by Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY) and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which held a mark up and reported the bill by voice vote, on May 30, 2012.
H.R. 3857 would amend the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 to allow Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) funds to be used for “specialized patrol teams,” an action which currently requires a waiver to be granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The bill would remove the waiver requirement.
The bill would add a requirement for recipients to submit detailed sustainment plans; however, it would direct the Department of Homeland Security to streamline the new requirement into the current grant process.
Lastly, the bill would authorize $400 million to be appropriated for fiscal years 2012 & 2013, with no more than 50 percent of those funds going towards operational expenses (consistent with the percentage allowable under the State Homeland Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security Initiative).
According to House Report 112-498, transit systems have had to apply for a waiver from the Secretary of Homeland Security in able to use funds granted under the TSGP for specialized patrol teams. The Department has already modified its policy for FY 2012 to allow for funds to be used for this purpose, but given the parameters of the law, this still requires a waiver. The bill removes this requirement and establishes the program for future years at the same level of funding it received in FY 2009.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill would cost $702 million over the 2012-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts.