A year and a half after it was originally due to Congress, School Transportation News has learned that a comprehensive assessment of the risk of a terrorist attack on the nation's school bus transportation system is that much closer to seeing the light of day.
President Bush signed H.R. 1 in August 2007 calling on TSA to perform within one year security risk assessments on school buses as well as commercial and transit buses, over-the-highway trucks and other critical infrastructure vehicles. Fast forward to today, and a release of the report by Congress by this spring appears to be a real possibility.
The report was called for by the 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and it made resulting recommendations towards enhancing the protection of the nation's infrastructure, including transportation.
After several false starts punctuated by the Obama Administration taking over last January and the resulting review of ongoing federal programs germane to any presidential change, TSA representatives told the school transportation industry that the report would likely be made available last month, a deadline which obviously came and went without a peep.
But apparently, according to a source close to the situation who requested anonymity, Congress now has taken possession of the assessment, and it is now up to senators and representatives to review the document and make it public. The report is designed to share with congressional members the vulnerabilities that TSA found in vehicles such as school buses and to serve as the long-awaited tool enabling school transportation to lobby Congress for federal dollars.
Supposedly, the document lists vulnerabilities that school transportation has been pointing out for years. But now, well at least "soon," lobbyists will have a concrete document to point to.
In other school bus security news, STN learned from NASDPTS representatives who participated in a conference call this week with TSA that upcoming Information Sharing and Analysis Center activities are scheduled for March 26 in Albany, N.Y., and in Los Angeles May 5 and 6. There is also a tentative training event scheduled for Chicago this July.