The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has commended the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) as one of 16 rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation for earning TSA’s highest rating of “Gold Standard” on the agency’s most recent Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) for their dedication to building a strong security program.

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 program analyzes the security program for each transit system and identifies opportunities to further enhance security.

“MARTA is to be commended for their commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “TSA commends these agencies for their continued dedication individual transit agencies demonstrate every day to ensure the security of travelers nationwide.”

MARTA was reviewed in 2012 and attained high scores across all categories. TSA considered this caliber of performance as reaching a “Gold Standard” and recognized MARTA 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.

MARTA Chief of Police Wanda Y. Dunham and Emergency Preparedness Unit Commander Aston Greene thank the TSA for honoring the MARTA Police
Department with the Gold Standard Award.

“We are incredibly honored to have earned TSA’s highest rating for our security programs,” said MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham. “Thank you to TSA for recognizing the robust planning, extensive training and community coordination that we do to provide our customers, employees and the general public with a safe and secure transit system.”

The 16 agencies recognized for achieving the Gold Standard in 2012 are: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Bus Company (NY), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), Metro Transit Minneapolis-St. Paul, Metra-Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, the Port Authority of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Utah Transit Authority, Pace-Suburban Bus Company, Westchester County (NY) Department of Transportation’s Bee-Line System, Connecticut Transit-Hartford Division, Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority of Ohio, Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Staten Island Railway and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).

In addition to these 16 agencies, there have been 21 others that have previously earned the Gold Standard Award level of security since 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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