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Boxer calls for increased security for U.S. rail system

(The Associated Press circulated the following story on April 15.)

LOS ANGELES -- The county must improve its rail security to avoid a terrorist disaster like the one that rocked Madrid last month, Sen. Barbara Boxer said Wednesday.

"We are vulnerable here, just as we are in rail systems throughout this state and throughout this country," said the California Democrat, who is sponsoring rail safety legislation.

Boxer, who is up for re-election in November, met with transit officials Wednesday to discuss security measures already being taken in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Boxer introduced legislation earlier this month that would authorize $2.5 billion overall over the next five years to enable rail systems to increase use of police, canine units and surveillance equipment.

Her aides said much of the bill was incorporated into legislation by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., which passed the U.S. Senate's Commerce Committee this week and could be heard as early as Monday on the Senate floor.

That bill makes a one-time allocation of more than $400 million for rail security next year. The money will be split among the federally subsidized Amtrak train system and freight rail.

Boxer's legislation also allocates money for local mass transit systems, but that funding was not included in McCain's bill.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

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