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Mike Byrnes & Assoc. , Inc. Names the Transportation Security Administration as Bumper To Bumper® People of the Month for November, 2009

Of course you've heard of the rules of the road. But who makes those rules? This year we've been profiling the different agencies contributing to the regulations that govern and impact commercial vehicle driving. Earlier this year we profiled the DOT, the NHTSA, the AAMVA, the FMCSA, the AASHTO, the FHWA, the CARB, the PHMSA and DOE. You can find all those profiles in our Article Archives. This month Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc., highlights the Transportation Safety Administration.
 

Gail Rossides, Acting Administrator, TSA

The Transportation Safety Administration was formed immediately following the tragedies of Sept. 11. The agency is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for security of the nation's transportation systems. Along with state, local and regional partners, the TSA oversees security for the

  • highways
  • railroads
  • buses
  • mass transit systems
  • ports
and the 450 U.S. airports. The TSA employs approximately 50,000 people from Alaska to Puerto Rico
to ensure safe travel be it by plane, train, automobile or ferry. Gail Rossides is the Acting Administrator.

Most visible to the public are the Transportation Security Officers at airport checkpoints. While they are the largest group of employees, they are joined by others in a variety of occupations, including those in Highway and Motor Carrier Transportation Sector Network Management, described as a "mode" for organizational purposes. The vision of this mode is to lead the national effort to maintain the capability to move freely and facilitate commerce in all conditions, and to continuously set the standard for excellence in highway transportation security through people, processes, and technology. What makes this a challenge is that highway traffic consists of privately owned vehicles traveling on publicly maintained roads. In 2001 the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that the 50 states spend $104 billion to build and maintain highway infrastructure that supported some 2.7 trillion vehicle miles of travel.

The TSA points out that the nation's economy is totally dependent on this infrastructure. It includes many historically and culturally significant structures that are easily accessible to vehicles of all kinds without screening or inspection. Some of these structures also have high economic value and could easily be targeted by terrorists. Trucks routinely carry hazardous materials that could be used to attack targets that are part of, or are adjacent to, the highway system. This was conclusively demonstrated with a truck bomb at the Murrah Federal Building in Okalahoma City, April, 1995 and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City.

No one entity owns or operates the entire highway infrastructure in the United States. Roads, bridges, and tunnels are owned and operated by states, counties or parishes, municipalities, Native American tribal authorities, private enterprise, and authorities made up of any conceivable grouping of these entities. Indeed, any piece of the infrastructure system may be owned by one entity, yet operated by another through cooperative agreement or long-term lease.

TSA OOIDA brochureWhat that in mind, among the TSA's programs to ensure highway safety and security are:

 

  • Corporate Security Reviews (CSR's)
  • Highway Grants
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement – Security Threat Assessment (HME STA)
  • School Transportation Security Awareness (STSA)
  • Hazmat Motor Carrier Security Self-Assessment Training Program

For more information about the TSA and its programs, visit the Web site at www.tsa.gov.