7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

Membership
Benefits
News and Issues
Departments
Information
Secretary-Treasurer
Merchandise
Communications
FELA
Events
Links
User Info

Calif. lawmakers tout bills to strengthen rail, transit safety

(The following story by Michael Cabanatuan appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle website on May 26.)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, vowed Tuesday to push for federal legislation that would boost security on passenger trains and mass transit in the wake of the deadly bombing of a Madrid commuter train in March.

"Let's get this show on the road,'' said Boxer, D-Calif., standing in front of the Oakland Amtrak station in Jack London Square. "We were warned on Sept. 11 that our airlines were targets. We were warned in March that our trains are a target. Let's get started.''

A pair of bills in the Senate, and one in the House, would provide millions in grants for Amtrak and transit agencies to help protect their systems against potential terrorist attack.

The Rail Transportation Security Act, passed by the Senate Commerce Committee last month, would authorize $350 million in grants to Amtrak and freight railroads, and would be distributed throughout the country based on ridership. The Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act, approved by the Senate Banking Committee on May 6, would allot $1.2 billion in grants to transit systems over the next three years.

In the House, the Safe Trains Act would provide $2.8 billion over the next three years for passenger rail and mass transit security improvements.

The money could be used for such things as canine patrols, track surveillance systems, train locating devices, security training for employees, communication systems, public awareness campaigns and police or security officer overtime pay.

Before their press conference Tuesday, Boxer and Lee toured an Amtrak maintenance complex being constructed in Oakland. It will bring maintenance from an open rail yard into a secured building. At the press conference, they were joined by Bay Area transportation officials.

Protecting rail systems against terrorists is particularly important to the Bay Area, said Lee, "given our region's reliance on transit like BART, Amtrak and AC Transit.''

California, said Boxer, has the highest Amtrak ridership outside of the Northeast, carrying 9 million passengers a year. Steve Kinsey, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said the Bay Area has more than 400 miles of passenger train and transit rail -- "the largest rail system in the western United States."

A rail security bill failed to pass Congress in 2001, but Boxer said she was optimistic the legislation would succeed this time.

"Since Madrid, we have a different attitude,'' she said. "People saw what happened. I hope the images of Madrid will not be forgotten by my colleagues."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2020 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts

DAILY HEADLINES

Pan Am Railways goes up for sale
An observer’s view of the Pan Am Railways sale
NJ Transit claims “major milestone” in PTC progress
Amtrak to reduce New York-Florida trains starting July 6, with more cuts coming October 1
SEPTA Regional Rail is coming back, but many of its suburban riders are still working from home
Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles set records for container movement
Nebraska Commission files complaint against railroads for blocked crossings
CN plans nearly C$1 billion in capital projects
Norfolk Southern sold its Roanoke headquarters building for $30 million, less than assessed value
Passenger rail between Duluth, Twin Cities hurt by lack of state backing
Port of Savannah calls 10% container volume drop “better than expected”
RRB begins paying CARES Act recovery payments for unemployed rail workers
Q&A: RRB reports performance under customer service plan
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines