Experts Say Transit Security Funds Misdirected
Sacramento, CA — Security experts studied the spending habits of California´s mass transit agencies for The Associated Press and found they are throwing too much of their scarce federal funding at preventing a hard-to-stop terrorist attack.
The experts conclude there´s too little preparation for an attack´s aftermath. The priorities ignore the lessons of the bus and train bombings that killed 247 people in Madrid and London: that it´s impossible to fully secure big-city systems designed for easy access to hundreds of thousands of riders.
Transit agencies defend their approaches, saying the prevention of an attack must be the top priority. Bill Pedrini of Caltrain says that´s partly because transit agency officials believe it´s their job to run the trains, buses and ferries safely. He added that it is the responsibility of firefighters and police to respond should terrorists strike.
The experts contacted by AP say some of the agencies´ purchases are cost-effective, citing bomb-sniffing dogs, improved communications equipment and tighter security at maintenance and parking areas.
But Bay Area Rapid Transit, for example, has purchased 1600 radios that can´t communicate with local emergency workers, the same flaw that hampered the response to the 2001 terror attacks in New York City.