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Responding to new global concerns over terrorism threats, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to beef up security immediately at transportation hubs and bi-state transit infrastructure.The governors signed a memorandum of understanding that features protocols under which the two states will begin intelligence gathering and information sharing to protect residents and critical infrastructure. The signing came nine days after the governors held an op-level security meeting in New York with national, state and local law enforcement and security heads to begin mapping out an improved, coordinated anti-terrorism plan, according to a press release issued by Cuomo's office.Over the next 100 days, a surge in law enforcement and military personnel will join forces within the metropolitan area to engage in counterterrorism operations by increasing visibility, inspections and surveillance on trains and at stations, airports, landmarks, and bridges and tunnels. Also, New York and New Jersey will participate in a joint emergency exercise in the coming months and continue to evaluate methods for increased intelligence and emergency coordination, officials said."The New York City area has always been a top target for terrorists wishing to spread hatred and fear, and we would be in a state of denial to say that what is going on internationally has not raised that danger," said Cuomo.Added Christie: "We know that our people and assets remain a target in the minds of depraved individuals around the globe, even in the homeland, and we are gravely committed to protecting and defending ourselves against the threat."The MOU addresses three areas of coordination: enhanced intelligence gathering and information sharing; critical transit infrastructure protection; and reciprocal law enforcement powers between New Jersey and New York.Also in the MOU, protections of critical transit infrastructure — Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) bridges, tunnels, ports and airports — will be increased through law enforcement deployment, visibility and security inspections.An increased presence of uniformed National Guard, New York State Police, New Jersey State Police, PANYNJ Police and various partner law enforcement agency will be noticable to provide a visible deterrent to criminal activity. Over the next few weeks, PANYNJ will increase and regularly evaluate its police coverage at airports, bridges and tunnels, bus terminals and stations, PATH, the World Trade Center and ports. Also, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will increase uniformed officer presence by 30 percent to 50 percent at high-volume stations, increase random bag checks, increase checks and curbside sweeps at stations and terminals, and monitor security video of high-profile locations throughout Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, New York City Transit, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and Lower Manhattan Security Initiative command centers.Transit security will be a topic covered at Secure Rail, a new Progressive Railroading conference to be held Feb. 3-4, 2015, in Orlando, Fla., that will focus on protecting and managing the security of rail technology, assets and people. For more information on the event, click on this link.
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