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Senate committee signs off on three-year, $3.5 billion transit security amendment

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs amended the Port Security Improvement Act of 2006 (H.R. 4954) to appropriate $3.5 billion for transit security over three years.

The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to award grants directly to public transportation agencies for capital security improvements, such as adding tunnel and perimeter protection, and redundant critical operations control systems; chemical, biological, radiological or explosive detection systems; and surveillance, communications, emergency response, and fire suppression and decontamination equipment.

The legislation also would enable agencies to use grants to fund security training for employees, public awareness campaigns and canine patrols.

The House version of the port security bill does not include provisions for transit security investments, so if the full Senate passes the bill this week, a conference committee would need to resolve the differences between the two bills.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government has allocated less than $400 million for transit security, even though transit agencies need at least $6 billion to improve security, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/14/2006