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BART Balances Heightened Security Amid Crippling Budget Cuts

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Osama Bin Laden's death has mass transit agencies across the US preparing for retaliatory attacks, but they're also preparing for major cuts in federal funding. At a hearing in Washington D.C. Wednesday morning BART's Deputy Chief of Police Daniel Hartwig told lawmakers the support is critical to the agency's security.

Hartwig addressed the House Homeland Security Committee for six minutes Wednesday morning, carefully outlining how increased federal security funding has helped since the September 11th attacks.

"Without the ability to continue the partnerships that we've developed through these funding sources that are located from federal sources, I fear that we would cease to exist, and cease to provide the level of security that we already have," said Hartwig.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

Hartwig was appointed to deputy police chief position six weeks ago. He said that on a typical weekday BART has 350,000 riders but it can be much, much higher, as it was during the Giants World Series Games and victory parade.

Soon after 9/11 BART was identified as one of many targets that were vulnerable to attack.

Hartwig was joined by leaders of the New York City Police Department, Chicago Transit Authority, TSA and FEMA in addressing lawmakers Wednesday. Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-New York) told them there's no doubt that cuts have to be made to bring government spending under control.

"Clearly, if we're talking about potential targets, no one is more of a target than our mass transit systems," said King. "We have to make sure that not one penny of money that's going toward national security is wasted."

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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