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Another rail security bill hits the Senate floor


Last week, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ranking Member Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) introduced another bill designed to protect passenger- and freight-rail systems from terrorist attacks.

The Rail Security Act of 2004 (S. 2273) would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct vulnerability assessments of the country’s rail infrastructure. It also would provide $62 million for Amtrak to address specific rail security vulnerabilities, and $660 million for safety and security improvements to Amtrak tunnels in New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The bill also would provide $250 million for a grant program under which railroads, hazardous-material shippers and Amtrak would receive funds from DHS, and $100 million for rail security research and development. DHS would be required to conduct a study on rail security measures in other countries.

S. 2273 builds on previous rail-security bills sponsored by Carper and Hollings, including the Rail Transportation Security Act (S. 2216), which was introduced last month following the commuter-rail bombings in Madrid, Spain. S. 2216 would require DHS to conduct a risk assessment of rail security threats and devise steps railroads can take to protect infrastructure and facilities. It also would provide $515 million in fiscal-year 2005 to address rail security, and award grants to passenger and freight roads to implement security initiatives.

S. 2273 is scheduled to be discussed by Senate Commerce Committee members on April 8.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/5/2004