WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded $2 million to 18 motorcoach operators in 14 states under the fiscal 2017 Intercity Bus Security Grant Program.
The grant amount was down from $3 million awarded to operators in 34 states last year.
The program provides funding for the protection of intercity bus systems and the traveling public from terrorism.
The grants provide operators of fixed-route intercity and charter bus services with resources to support security measures such as enhanced planning, facility security upgrades and vehicle and driver protection.
Operators use the money to upgrade company security measures with onboard cameras, communication equipment, fencing at terminals, passenger screening gear, driver shields, and global positioning tracking devices.
Companies eligible for the grants are owners and operators of fixed-route intercity and charter buses that serve urban areas designated to receive Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding under the Homeland Security Grant Program.
Charter companies must make a minimum of 50 trips annually to one or more UASI jurisdictions to be eligible. They also must have completed a vulnerability assessment and developed a security plan.
The grant program was started in 2003 and awarded a little more than $100 million before the funding dried up after 2011. The grants were reinstated in 2015 at significantly lower funding levels.
For example, $11.66 million was awarded to 71 operators in fiscal 2009 and $11.5 million was awarded in fiscal 2010 to 69 operators.
The amount fell off sharply in 2011, when 83 operators received a total of $4.99 million.
Over the years, roughly 38 percent of the grant money has gone to Greyhound Lines, which has received a total of about $38 million.
Greyhound has gotten its large percentage not only because it has the biggest fleet of line-run coaches of any private carrier, but also because it travels to the areas believed to be most vulnerable for a terrorism attack — one of the program’s key criteria.
This year, Greyhound received $481,630.
Grant recipients are selected through a competitive process based on the ratings of the National Review Panel. Cost share or match is not required under the program.
Recipients of the 2017 grants are:
- Alabama – Colonial Trailways, $73,286
- Georgia – Harmon Bros. Charter Services Inc., $69,067
- Illinois – Anchor Tours Inc., $31,161
- Kentucky – Shockey Tours Inc., $30,165
- Maine – Isherwood Enterprises Inc. (dba Custom Coach of Portland), $52,191
- Maryland – Keller Transportation Inc., $210,591
- Massachusetts – Joseph’s Transportation Inc., $52,194
- Minnesota – Richfield Bus Company (dba Bloomington Charter Service), $119,404
- New Jersey – Academy Express LLC, $207,000
- New York – Adirondack Transit Lines Inc., $180,287
- New York – Monsey New Square Trails Inc., $13,182
- Pennsylvania – David Thomas Tours Inc., $183,990
- South Carolina – Champion Coach Inc., $52,194
- Texas – Greyhound Lines Inc., $481,630
- Virginia – QT Transport Inc., $43,758
- Virginia – DC Trails Inc., $85,940
- Virginia – Quick-Livick Inc. (dba Quick’s Bus Company), $32,235
- Virginia – Fun Tours Inc., $81,722