WASHINGTON, D.C. – New safety improvements will be made to protect southwest Ohio’s public transportation system from potential disasters and other emergencies. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that new federal resources were awarded to Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) create a disaster preparedness plan to protect Ohioans from acts of terrorism, major natural disasters, and other emergencies.

“Our state’s public transportation systems are critical for connecting Ohioans with schools, health care facilities, and employment opportunities,” Brown said. “Federal investments to keep SORTA safe from potential disasters are essential for the safety of our citizens and for the economic development of southwest Ohio.”

There are 59 transit systems in Ohio – a fleet that employs more than 5,200 workers According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio is 12th in the nation for public transit ridership.

Brown has been a longtime advocate of public transportation. In March 2010, Brown joined Ohio transit workers from across the state to outline legislation that would save transit jobs, prevent fare increases, and preserve mass transit service. His legislation would give transit agencies increased flexibility to use federal funds for operating assistance as well as capital investments helping to prevent layoffs and preserve access to affordable transit service.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) awarded $411,048 to improve safety and of the transit system.