FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2005
Schumer: New York Rail Security Needs To Be Tightened – London Attacks Should Serve As Warning
Terrorist Attacks on London’s Mass Transit System, Following Madrid Train Bombing Are Wake-Up Calls that Must Be Heeded
Subway stations, bus lines and commuter rail lines are still vulnerable to terrorist attacks and need federal support to bolster security efforts, Senator Charles E. Schumer warned today. Schumer, standing with his colleague Senator Hillary Clinton, explained that the terrorist attacks on London’s mass transit should serve as a wake-up call to the federal government to tighten security on rails in and around New York City. With the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) having raised the terror threat level for commuter rails, Schumer discussed how subway and rail stations will require significant security upgrades.
“The people of London are in our prayers today. After September 11, Americans and the entire world’s people stood behind New Yorkers – I know that we are going to do the same for the people of London. Following the attack on Madrid’s rail system, the terrible terrorist attacks in London is our second wake-up call to greatly improve our rail and mass transit security here in America. It is clear that we’re not doing close to enough and must do more. The soft underbelly of buses and subways and railroads are fully exposed to similar terrorist attacks unless we take real steps to beef up mass transit security immediately,” Schumer said.
Schumer has repeatedly urged the Administration to augment rail and mass transit security. Schumer called for the federal government to accelerate the development of detectors for rail and subway stations. Currently, individual transportation systems in major U.S. cities are developing their own detection devices, but Schumer said today that a coordinated effort funded by the federal government is needed to overcome the many technological barriers that face scientists and engineers working on such systems.
In an effort to beef up mass transit security, Today Schumer announced his intention to offer amendments to drastically increase the resources for and focus on rail and mass transit security, including New York’s subways and busses.
Schumer’s amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill would double the $100 million proposed for both mass transit and rail security and allocate $100 million for each. The proposed amendment would also double funding for bus security improvements from $10 million to $20 million.
The amendment also includes a provision that would require DHS to devote $20 million from DHS’s science budget to develop explosive detectors for mass transit stations, rail cars, and buses.
Also, Schumer is a lead sponsor of the Transportation Security Improvements Act of 2005 (S.1052, 109th) which would spend over $750 million over three years for rail/bus security, along with billions more dollars to beef up security for all modes of transportation across the county.
Schumer has also co-sponsored the Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (S.2884, 108th), which would have given more than $1 billion over three years for mass transit security, including authorizations for security assessments, grants, and research and development for mass transit security technology.
Finally, Schumer cosponsored legislation last Congress to allot $1.2 billion over five years for improvements to passenger and freight rail systems throughout the country. The legislation would have directed the Homeland Security Department to assess security risks to freight and passenger rail and develop recommendations for securing them. Schumer's measure would have required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to study the cost and feasibility of screening all passengers, baggage and mail that travels on Amtrak trains, and would have also required the department to conduct a pilot program to randomly screen passengers and baggage at as many as 10 rail stations.