TSU President John Rudley says faculty will consult with local businesses and the petro-chemical industry to discuss the highest priority transportation security needs in the region.
"We're here in a major city, the fourth largest city, with all the problems that are identified by Homeland Security and we have the lab within which we can develop these solutions. So it's about time for Texas Southern to get the accolades for what we have been doing in transportation."
Rudley met with Department of Homeland Security Under-Secretary Jay Cohen. Cohen says they selected TSU for the project because of Houston's profile in national security issues.
"We realize that with 40 percent of the petro-chemical industry flowing through the Houston area and the Gulf Coast how uniquely situated Texas Southern University was right here to bring this together because our economy depends upon it."
After visiting with campus officials, Cohen made a request.He wants TSU to consider hosting a transportation security conference.
The Department would help fund the conference. He suggested government officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico shouldattend, along with academia and industry stakeholders.Rudley says he's gratified by the nod of confidence in TSU.
"He's given us the perfect segue or opportunity to roll out this effort to the Houston community. We have 500 of the Fortune 500 companies here already who are affected by the whole transportation security problem. So we're excited about the fact that we are going to help lead that effort and so we're going to do it."
Now if all this sounds a little nebulous, that's because it is. TSU is just starting this project. Rudley says the first step is to identify the problems in transportation security long before they can work on solutions.