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U.S. passenger-rail security measures long overdue, senators tell TSA

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) earlier this week called on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to immediately implement security and safety improvements on the nation's passenger-rail systems.

In the wake of last week's foiled terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train, the senators said in a letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger that his agency should implement the security and safety measures that were mandated in legislation passed by Congress in 2007.

The legislation, known as "Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission," required TSA to create regulations that would address threats facing passenger-rail and transit agencies by having security plans in place, ensuring proper security training for employees and requiring thorough vetting for those working on the systems, the senators said in a press release.

They noted that the nation's public transportation and passenger-rail systems "carry significantly more people per day than our airlines do." Penn Station in New York City, for example, is busier than all three NYC regional airports.

"While aviation security is a vital focus of the TSA, your agency also has a critical role to play in protecting rail and transit passengers," the senators wrote. "Action on many congressional mandates has languished for far too long."

Last week, three Americans traveling on a train in Europe helped subdue an armed man who attempted to kill passengers on a train headed for Paris.

"The swift action of these men averted a catastrophe that could have claimed many lives. This close call requires that we consider the vulnerabilities this incident – and several other high-profile attacks on rail and transit elsewhere globally — expose for our rail and transit passengers," the senators said.


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