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Ex-TSA official faults hazmat rail safety

(The Associated Press circulated the following story on April 22.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A former TSA official says the government didn't have adequate plans to secure hazardous rail shipments when he was with the agency.

Former Deputy Administrator Stephen McHale spoke Thursday at a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress. He was the agency's second-ranking official from 2002 to August 2004.

McHale says he was disappointed at the pace and the amount of resources the federal government directed to secure chemicals, explosives and other dangerous materials on the nation's rails.

The U.S. District Court of Appeals in the District is considering a challenge by CSX Transportation of the D.C. government's ban on hazardous rail shipments in the city.

McHale says he opposes the D.C. ban, but he believes more can be done to secure the system.

The TSA says there is room for security improvements in rail, but that TSA's partnership with industry and local governments is paving the way for gains.

Friday, April 22, 2005

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