March 5, 2012

17 transit systems given TSA 'Gold Standard' rating

The Transportation Security Administration is recognizing 17 rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation that earned TSA's highest rating of "Gold Standard" on the agency's most recent Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE).

The BASE program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. This voluntary comprehensive review of transit agency security programs focuses on multiple categories identified by the transit community as fundamentals for a sound transit security program.

They include a review of topics such as an agency's security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs. The BASE assessment analyzes the security program for each transit system and identifies vulnerabilities that are addressed.

"I commend these organizations for their commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires," said TSA Administrator John S.
Pistole. "TSA recognizes the continued dedication individual transit agencies demonstrate every day to ensure the safety of travelers nationwide."

The recognized agencies were reviewed in 2011 and attained high scores across all categories. TSA considers this caliber of performance as reaching a "Gold Standard" and recognizes these agencies for having strong security programs. TSA continues to work with all transit agencies across the country to develop and implement robust security practices system-wide.

The agencies recognized for achieving the Gold Standard in 2011 are:
Amtrak, Bi-State Development Agency (MetroLink) in St. Louis, Central Ohio Transit Authority, Denver Regional Transportation District, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, Indianapolis and Marion County Public Transportation, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, North County Transit District, Pierce County Transportation Benefit Area Authority, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Spokane Transit Authority and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Only six other agencies have achieved this level of distinction and were recognized for 2010.

The BASE program was developed to increase domain awareness, enhance prevention and protection capabilities and further response preparedness of transit systems nationwide. BASE is aimed at meeting the requirements in the 9/11 Commission Act's security assessment section, which directs TSA to identify critical assets, infrastructure and systems and their vulnerabilities and assist bus and public transportation authorities to address their security programs.

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