CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, September 26, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5943, the Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5943 was introduced on September 7, 2016, by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on September 13, 2016.
H.R. 5943 provides flexibility to transit agencies eligible for Transit Security Grant Program funding by allowing grant recipients to use funding for training-related backfill and extending the period of performance for large-scale capital security projects.
The Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) provides funds to eligible transit agencies for capital (tunnel protection systems, perimeter security, evacuation improvements, etc.) and operational (training and exercise, canine patrols, public awareness campaigns, etc.) projects.
According to the Committee, witnesses at a recent field hearing in New Jersey reported the TSGP was working well and has enhanced their ability to secure their transit systems. However, they indicated it would be helpful if the program would cover backfill associated with sending an employee to training, as well as extend the period of performance for large-scale capital security projects.
The program currently permits grant recipients to use funding to send personnel to training. However, there is a cost associated with sending a person to training. Unlike the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative, TSGP funds may not be used for backfill, which is the cost associated with paying for staff to cover the position of the individual attending training.
A period of performance is the time in which grant recipients have to expend grant funds. Currently, the TSGP period of performance is 36 months. In 2012 the Federal Emergency Management Agency reduced the period of performance 20 24 months, but reverted the time to 36 months in 2014. H.R. 5943 codified the 36 month period, with the exception of large-scale capital security projects. The bill sets the period of performance for these projects at 55 months.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “Our local and national transportation systems remain a top terror target, so it’s vital that transit agencies have the resources they need to prevent and prepare for emergency situations. This bill will help secure subway, bus and commuter rail systems for the millions of Americans who rely on them.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates implementing H.R. 5943 would cost about $1 million in 2017 and a negligible amount over the remainder of the 5-year period. Any spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.