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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

U.S. senators call on TSA to address passenger-rail security

U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), along with several other U.S. Democratic senators, are calling on Transportation Security Administrator Peter Neffenger to tighten security measures on the nation's passenger-rail and transit systems.

The senators sent a letter yesterday to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) leading asking the agency to finish implementing transit security actions as required under the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

The letter underscores that the TSA's lack of action may diminish the agency's ability to strengthen passenger-rail security and impact the nation's ability to prevent or deter terrorist acts, according to a press release issued by Booker's office.

The senators' letter follows a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG), which found that the TSA has "limited regulatory oversight" to strengthen passenger security at Amtrak because the agency has not fully implemented the requirements under the 9/11 law that Congress passed in 2007 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"Two short months ago, terrorists detonated a nail bomb at a Brussels Metro station, killing 20 rail passengers and injuring more than 100 others. This terrible attack reminds us that surface transportation systems are attractive soft targets for terrorists seeking to inflict significant casualties," the senators wrote.

In response to the OIG report, the senators said they want "information on progress made by TSA in completing all 9/11 requirements, the date by which TSA will issue proposed regulations and final rules on these matters, and other actions taken by TSA to improve passenger rail and transit security."

Also signing the letter were Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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