GAO report recommends 'redundant' rail-security plan, AAR says (5/27/2003)


A recent U.S. General Accounting Office report recommends that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and several government agencies create a transportation-security plan covering all modes.

To the Association of American Railroads, any plan involving railroads would be "redundant" and "cover no new ground" because the rail industry already has such a plan in place.

"A comprehensive, risk-based security plan … was developed in close consultation with the Department of Transportation, Transportation Security Administration, the FBI, National Security Council, the CIA, the Department of Defense, railroad customers, and state and local law-enforcement agencies," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement. "This plan undergoes continuous re-evaluation and is flexible enough so that it can be changed quickly when circumstances warrant."

TSA officials are considering aspects of the rail industry's plan as the basis for a model demonstrating how to conduct vulnerability assessments.

"The report calls attention to numerous specific actions that railroads have already undertaken to reduce vulnerability and cites no systemic problems with the security plan," said Hamberger.

Through AAR, freight railroads remain in constant communication with USDOT, FBI and National Security Council security personnel, and state and local law-enforcement officers to immediately respond to any rail-network threats.

"The railroad security plan is a living document, because the risk-assessment process is a continuous one," said Hamberger.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News