Amendment No. 13 Offered by Mr. Butterfield -- (House of Representatives - June 04, 2009)
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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
First of all, I want to thank Chairman Thompson and the Homeland Security Committee for working with me on this amendment. I appreciate their attitude very much and their openness to this suggestion.
This is a fairly straightforward amendment. What it is trying to do is to mirror the resources of the Federal Government and to make sure that they're in sync with the needs of local transit systems. This actually developed out of a homeland security working group dialogue that I had in my congressional district. I represent the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago and a wide range of commuters. We've got bus lines and rail lines in the Chicago area, and there is a certain level of vulnerability. So last March I invited some of the leadership of the public transit systems and some of the security agencies to really offer ideas, and this is one of the ideas that they had.
They said, Look, we have needs at the local level, and there are resources at the Federal Government, but sometimes those two things aren't really in sync. So what this is, it says simply that the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security will hold hearings, if this amendment is passed, and those hearings are really about the subject of whether current allowable uses of grant funds are sufficient to meet the daily security needs and the transit security needs of these local agencies. Then after that happens, after this conversation happens and these hearings, to come back to Congress and to report.
I think that this is one of these areas where there's a great deal of common ground. There is uncertainty sometimes at the State and local level about how Federal funds fit into their agenda. We all know that we, in the Congress, are trying to help. And this is a structured way to have that conversation, because when it comes down to it, there's nearly 12 million Americans that are riding on passenger trains each day, and that's six times as many that fly in our skies. I think that this is a wise use of resources and urge the adoption of the amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Chairman, I first of all, I want to thank the gentleman for his support. And just one other point for the record: The amendment is endorsed by the American Public Transportation Association. I am not aware of any opponents. I appreciate the gentleman's support.
I yield back the balance of my time.