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Senate transportation committee holds hearing on rail security bill


On Oct. 20, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing on the Transportation Security Improvement Act of 2005 (S. 1052), which currently has 11 co-sponsors.

Introduced by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Ark.) in May, S. 1052 would direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a task force — including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Department of Transportation — to assess the vulnerability of freight- and passenger-rail systems. DHS also would be required to provide grants to Amtrak for system-wide security upgrades, including fire and life-safety improvements and infrastructure upgrades to the Northeast Corridor.

In addition, the bill would authorize grants for freight railroads, hazardous materials shippers, universities, research centers, and state and local governments for projects that upgrade freight- and passenger-rail security, and create a rail worker security training program.

During the hearing, various senators questioned witnesses about current security measures at U.S. railroads and the amount of funding dedicated to rail security.

Witnesses included Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman; Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger; Amtrak Senior Vice President of Operations William Crosbie; TSA Assistant Secretary Edmund Hawley; and Director of Homeland Security and Justice-U.S. General Accounting Office Cathleen Berrick.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/26/2005