They also remain a target for terrorist groups and have been the subject of numerous plots -- attempted plots in the U.S. -- two of which were mentioned earlier -- as well as a number of successful attacks overseas, which have also been noted.
Passengers serve as important partners for security in these systems, and we are encouraging Americans to alert local law enforcement if they see something that is potentially dangerous, through the nationwide expansion of the If You See Something, Say Something campaign, a clear and effective means to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, but also crime and other threats, and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper law enforcement authorities.
Our partnerships with industry and local and regional stakeholders are a critical component of TSA's security efforts for mass transit and passenger rail. DHS' comprehensive transit security grant program is currently the primary vehicle for providing funding assistance for security enhancements to eligible transit agencies, supporting state and local government initiatives to improve security.
TSA works with FEMA to fund projects that most effectively mitigate risk at the highest risk systems. In other words, how do we best buy down risks.
These projects address operational deterrence activities, the remediation of critical infrastructure in transit, and other assets critical to surface transportation security.
In 2010, DHS awarded nearly $274 million to the transit and passenger rail industry, bringing the total to over $1.6 billion awarded since 2006.
In addition to grant funding, TSA supports the security of mass transit and passenger rail systems by deploying those VIPR teams that Chairman Lieberman mentions -- mentioned -- the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams -- to augment the local security efforts. We do have 25 dedicated teams in operation, and we are seeking to expand that to additional 12 teams in our request for the 2012 budget.
Now, the VIPR teams work alongside local law enforcement officers and are typically comprised of personnel with expertise in inspection, behavior detection, security screening and law enforcement for random, unpredictable deployments throughout the transportation sector to deter potential terrorist attacks. VIPR teams enhance TSA's ability to surge resources quickly anywhere in the country. TSA conducted over 8,000 VIPR operations in the past 12 months, including over 4,200 operations in mass transit venues across the country.
In addition, TSA performs baseline and collaborative risk assessments for mass transit and passenger rail, engaging state and local partners in three critical areas: one, how to reduce vulnerabilities; two, assess risk; and three, improve security efforts.
These assessments are conducted with emphasis on the 100 largest passenger -- mass transit and passenger rail systems in terms of passenger volume, which collectively account for over 80 percent of the more than 35 million trips taken on mass transit each weekday.
Among these assessments is the BASE, B-A-S-E, or Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement, a comprehensive security assessment program designed to evaluate 17 security and emergency management action items that form the foundation of an effective security program.
Through the BASE program, TSA reviews security-related proposals jointly developed by TSA, the Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration, or FTA, and private -- and sector partners from mass transit and passenger rail systems.
The assessment results provide critical data about security priorities, the development of security enhancement programs, and the allocation of resources -- a critical aspect obviously -- and a compilation of the most effective security practices for mass transit and passenger rail agencies.
Over 115 mass transit and passenger rail agencies have participated in the BASE program and used their assessments to help make their systems even safer and more secure for their passengers, employees and infrastructure.