U.S. DOT, Homeland Security need to resolve issues

News AASHTO Journal August 12, 2003
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A General Accounting Office report released last week concludes that the U

A General Accounting Office report released last week concludes that the U.S. Department of Transportation and the federal Department of Homeland Security need to resolve which agency has responsibility for what in transportation security--lest there be costly duplication, troubling gaps in coverage or outright confusion.


The report is based on interviews by GAO staff starting in February and ending in May. Staff of the agency interviewed transportation agency staff at multiple levels of government, personnel of associations and private transportation providers.


GAO concluded that some government agencies don't yet know which agency is providing what type of security-related service, while others alleged they were being left out of the decision-making process about security issues.


However, all agreed that finding adequate funding for security is the most challenging obstacle, and most said they believe the nation is more secure today, even with some confusion about roles, than it was prior to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. that occurred Sept. 11, 2001.


Though both U.S. DOT and the Homeland Security department disagreed about the need to divvy up their duties more clearly, saying they believe they clearly understand the roles they are expected to play, industry representatives suggested otherwise in the GAO report. GAO recommended that the two agencies pursue a formal approach, such as a memorandum of agreement, to help ensure that who does what is clearly set out.


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