Western congress members seek full quake warning funding

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three dozen members of Congress from California, Oregon and Washington are urging full funding of a West Coast earthquake early warning system.

The group on Tuesday sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking that the U.S. Geological Survey receive $16.1 million to make a demonstration system fully operational.

The sum is the estimated annual cost of building, operating and maintaining a full system of sensors that detect initial waves of an earthquake and provide valuable seconds of warning before slower but damaging waves arrive.

Last year, Congress voted to provide $5 million, bringing total system funding to $6.5 million for fiscal 2015.

California Rep. Adam Schiff says warning time could enable trains to brake, allow shutdown of sensitive systems and give people time to reach a safe location.