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Senate committee passes rail security bill


On April 8, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously approved the Rail Security Act of 2004 (S. 2273), which would provide $1.2 billion for passenger and freight railroads to increase security.

The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct vulnerability assessments of passenger and freight rail infrastructure throughout the country. It also would authorize $62 million for Amtrak to address specific rail security vulnerabilities, and $660 million for safety and security improvements to Amtrak’s New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., tunnels.

The legislation also would establish a $350 million grant program for Amtrak, freight roads, hazardous material shippers, and state and local governments for rail security upgrades. Another $100 million would be provided for rail security research and development.

In addition, S. 2273 would create a pilot passenger screening program at five rail stations across the country, protect whistleblowers who report security failings, and require DHS to conduct a study on security measures adopted in other countries and study hazmat tank car vulnerabilities.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/12/2004