March 28, 2007


Urges Swift Conference to Improve Transit Safety

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) today commended the House for approving a transportation measure, the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007, to bolster transit and rail security and safety nationwide. Senator Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, recently successfully won Senate approval for a measure passed out of his committee that 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. The measure was the first legislation to move through the Banking Committee and was approved unanimously on February 8. It was later approved by the full Senate on March 14th as part of comprehensive 9-11 legislation. “I commend the House for taking this action,” said Dodd. “We need to move swiftly now to reconcile the two measures and get these critically important resources to our public transit systems. 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.” 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 establish 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.