Underwood Works to Keep Metra Secure Against Terrorism and Other Threats, Leads Members of the Illinois Delegation in Push for Federal Funding for Metra

April 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) led members of the Illinois delegation in urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support Metra’s Fiscal Year 2020 Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) application for cyber vulnerability risk mitigation and operations center enhancements. In a  letter to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, members highlighted the invaluable role Metra plays in serving communities and cities in Illinois, and wrote that Metra’s requested TSGP funding is essential for securing the system against terrorism and other threats.  

“Metra operates nearly 700 weekday trains, providing over 280,000 weekday passenger trips on average, serving 11 routes across six counties. Securing this system against terrorism and other threats is a formidable task, which is why Metra is seeking $2,325,279 in funding for risk mitigation and system enhancements. The Transit Security Grant Program grant would assist Metra in remediating cyber vulnerabilities posing the greatest risk, accelerating software updates and patches, and establishing a new security operations center,” members wrote.  

“Metra would like to thank Rep. Underwood and the entire Illinois congressional delegation for strongly and wholeheartedly supporting our security grant funding request,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “They are demonstrating that they share Metra’s commitment to making sure our system is as safe and secure as possible.” 

In addition to Underwood, the following members also joined the letter: Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representatives Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), Daniel W. Lipinski (IL-03), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (IL-04), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Sean Casten (IL-06), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10), Bill Foster (IL-11), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17). 

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.  

April 29, 2020 

The Honorable Chad F. Wolf  

Acting Secretary  

U.S. Department of Homeland Security  

Washington, DC 20528  

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:  

We write to urge your support of the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation’s (Metra) Fiscal Year 2020 Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) application for cyber vulnerability risk mitigation and operations center enhancements. Funding these projects will fulfill FEMA’s goal of enhancing the cybersecurity and emerging threat capabilities of urban transit agencies like Metra.  

Metra operates nearly 700 weekday trains, providing over 280,000 weekday passenger trips on average, serving 11 routes across six counties. Securing this system against terrorism and other threats is a formidable task, which is why Metra is seeking $2,325,279 in funding for risk mitigation and system enhancements.  

If awarded, the TSGP grant would assist Metra in remediating cyber vulnerabilities posing the greatest risk, accelerating software updates and patches, and establishing a new security operations center. Specifically, TSGP funding would:  

  • Mitigate vulnerabilities and protect high-risk, high-consequence computer systems and infrastructure previously identified through system-wide risk assessments;  
  • Improve Metra’s cybersecurity resilience;  
  • Streamline detection and investigation processes to respond quickly and decisively; and  
  • Expand Metra’s culture of preparedness and enable information sharing and collaboration to protect against emerging threats to national security.  

Previous TSGP funding has played a key role in protecting the Illinoisans who depend on Metra. We are confident that Metra has the expertise and commitment to build on this success by implementing the critical next steps described above. Thus, we urge DHS to give Metra’s application full consideration under applicable guidelines.  

Sincerely, 

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