March 14, 2007


First Banking Committee Bill Passed as Chairman

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) announced today that S. 763, the Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, passed as part of the comprehensive 9-11 legislation that the Senate approved by a vote of 60 to 38. The transit security legislation, Title XIV of the 9-11 package, was prompted by witnesses who testified before Dodd in January that the current Administration is doing far too little to protect America’s 14 million daily transit riders from the risk of terrorist acts. The Banking Committee approved the bill in a unanimous vote on February 8. The bill will provide additional resources -- $3.5 billion over the next three years -- distributed on the basis of risk, directly to public transit systems to better protect against terrorist attacks and mitigate the damage from any attack. “Worldwide, transit is the top target of terrorist activities. We’ve already seen attacks on transit systems in London, Madrid, and Moscow. One of our many cities could easily be a target. Despite this clear warning, our nation still is not properly prepared to face this threat. Each and every day, millions of Americans step onto buses and trains to go to work, school and other destinations, and they deserve better protection. We must make transit a top priority when it comes to keeping our citizens safe. “This legislation will help bring transit security closer to where it ought to be given the high threat. Beyond the obvious implications of physically protecting our citizens, safe transit systems can help to maintain public confidence, encouraging transit use and preventing our cities from being mired in gridlock.” Chairman Dodd’s bill includes the following provisions: Security Assessments The Federal Transit Administration, with the Department of Homeland Security, will conduct security assessments to establishing improvements for each transit system. These assessments will be used to establish a process for developing security guidelines and designing a security strategy that minimizes the potential for terrorist threats and maximizes efforts to mitigate damage from attacks. Security Assistance Grants Public transportation agencies will be awarded grants for security measures such as tunnel protection systems, perimeter protection systems, fire protection equipment, closed circuit television monitoring systems, and security training for transit employees. Intelligence Sharing Sufficient financial assistance will be provided for the Information Sharing and Analysis Center for Public Transportation (ISAC), in which all transit agencies are encouraged to participate and some are required. No transit agency will be charged a fee to participate in the ISAC, to prevent cost from being a reason not to participate. Research, Development, and Demonstration Grants and Contracts Grants will be provided to public and private entities to conduct research into technology or methods of deterring and mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks.