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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 31, 2003
Contact: Bill Outlaw
Tel: 202-366-0660
FHWA 6-03

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mineta Announces AMBER Grant Program to Fight Child Abduction

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced a $7 million grant program to help states apply Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to existing or proposed AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert programs. The AMBER Plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin on child-abduction cases.

"Saving lives is the top priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation," Secretary Mineta said. "These grants will provide additional resources for state and local transportation agencies as they support law enforcement authorities in searches for abducted children."

This new DOT grant program provides funds to states to plan systems and procedures to incorporate various traveler information applications such as changeable message signs (CMS) into the issuance of AMBER alerts. Each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are eligible for $125,000 grants for designing systems that support the coordination necessary to issue an AMBER alert and to provide the means to communicate an alert to motorists. The criteria for funding these grant requests are intended to ensure that notifications are well designed and to enable law enforcement and transportation sectors to work together.

In addition, the grants will support automated communication between emergency responders and transportation agencies. The underpinning ITS technologies provide a foundation for electronic exchange of real-time information that can save valuable time in responding to traffic incidents and other emergencies.

DOT's intent to create a program to support AMBER alerts was announced on Oct. 2 when President Bush convened the first-ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children. At the conference, the President directed the Attorney General to name a national AMBER alert coordinator to lead the effort in developing, enhancing and coordinating alert plans across the country.

To obtain these grants, applicants must submit an acceptable technical approach and financial plan with evidence that their plans can be completed successfully in a timely fashion. Applications must be received by Aug. 1, 2003. Application instructions as well as details of the AMBER grant program are available at http://www.its.dot.gov.

ITS improves transportation safety and relieves congestion through the application of traffic management, communication and information technologies.

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