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12/15/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA's Boardman urges Congress to renew the Patriot Act


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To “strengthen the safety and security” of U.S. freight and passenger railroads, it’s “vitally important” that Congress renew the Patriot Act, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman said in a statement issued yesterday.

Echoing sentiments made Dec. 13 by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Boardman said renewing the act would enable Congress to provide law enforcement officials the tools they need to prevent terrorist acts.

Specifically, Section 110 of the act adds railroad equipment and infrastructure to the list of mass transportation items protected by federal anti-terrorism laws, and prohibits “modern terrorist weapons,” such as the use of biological agents or toxins against railroads. It’s also designed to make it easier to “bring those who target railroads to justice” and provides stronger penalties if there are passengers or hazardous materials aboard the train, Boardman said, adding that the proposed changes also would help ensure that all rail modes are equally protected under federal law.

“By passing the extension of the Patriot Act, the U.S. Congress has the opportunity to strengthen the laws to deter and prosecute terrorist acts against the nation’s freight and passenger railroads,” Boardman said. “They should not let this opportunity to better safeguard America slip by them.”










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