Given the loud and constant din about security concerns over the past few years, you'd think that public agencies would have already raced to assess their security risks and patch up post-9/11 terror vulnerabilities. Not so with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, evidently, which, according to Marcus Baram's piece in this week's Observer, has only spent $25 to 30 million of the $591 million it has budgeted for security.

Gothamist certainly wouldn't advise the agency to start buying into specious get-safe-quick proposals, but it does seem odd that so much money is just lying around waiting to be spent while the subway system seems to have a big target painted on it. Spokesman Tom Kelly says that the MTA is holding back to make "the right choices" rather than throwing money at "every cockamamie scheme" people pitch to improve security.

As in every issue regarding transportation, Queens Councilman John Liu (chair of the Transportation Committee) was outraged. He was shocked (shocked!) to hear that so little progress had been made to make the MTA more secure. Liu's press releases often carry an air of profound and overdramatic indignation, no matter what the issue. Kelly, who reportedly sat and shook his head throughout most of Mr. Liu’s questions and comments during the recent City Council hearing on the issue, responds in the piece that he resents politicians' implication that the agency isn't worried enough about safety.

“Not only do we use the system, but our families do," says Kelly to Baram. "And you know that [politicians] would be the first ones to criticize us if these steps prove to be unwise”