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Port security bill passes Congress


Last week, Congress passed the Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 (H.R. 4954), which would provide $400 million in federal port security grant funding each of the next five years.

The bill also would set a deadline for implementing a new credentialing program for port workers, support pilot projects to test biometric readers at U.S. ports and scan cargo at overseas ports, and require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deploy nuclear and radiological detection systems at 22 of the nation’s largest ports, and develop a detailed incident recovery plan.

However, the legislation excluded a proposal to authorize $4.5 billion for rail and mass transit security. A House and Senate conference committee removed the proposal from the bill’s final version.

“This Administration has not shown the same ‘can do, will do’ attitude toward mass transit and rail security that we’ve adopted toward aviation and, now, port security,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in a prepared statement. “The terrorist attacks on rail and transit systems in Spain, London and Mumbai should be enough evidence to convince the Republican-led Congress that U.S. rails are dangerously vulnerable.”

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More News from 10/2/2006