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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Surface transportation security bill enters Senate


Last week, U.S. Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) introduced the Surface Transportation Security Act of 2007 (S. 184) or the STARS Act.

The legislation would reestablish the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the lead surface transportation security agency and provide the agency $1.25 billion for transportation security during the next three years. Freight railroads, Amtrak, transit agencies, commercial trucking companies and intercity bus providers would be eligible for grants.

“This legislation will address security vulnerabilities that exist within our rail and surface transportation systems,” Stevens said in a prepared statement.

S. 184 also would require TSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to clarify their respective rail security roles, and require TSA to conduct a railroad sector threat assessment and submit prioritized recommendations for improving rail security.

In addition, the STARS Act calls for creating a rail security research and development program through USDOT and encouraging the deployment of rail-car tracking equipment for high-hazard materials rail shipments. Railroads that ship hazardous materials would be required to establish threat mitigation plans.

The legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.