Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007

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In the U.S., several agencies are devoted to transportation. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, a new federal agency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), was authorized. It was charged with ensuring security for highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, ports, and 450 U.S. airports. Like other federal agencies, the TSA is subject to laws passed and oversight conducted by the U.S. Congress. This page deals with the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007, introduced on March 8, 2007, which would call for the TSA to establish a national strategy for rail security.

Contents

House

On March 27, 2007, the House considered a bill (H.R. 1401) to improve security of railroads, public transportation, and over-the-road buses in the U.S.


Specifically, the bill called for:

  • The Transportation Security Administration to establish a National Strategy for Rail and Public Transportation Security. It must include:
    • A description of the roles, responsibilities and authorities of federal, state and local agencies, government sponsored entities, tribal governments and appropriate stakeholders including private sector owners.
    • A description of how the department has reviewed terrorist attacks on covered transportation throughout the world in the last 25 years and lessons learned.
  • The TSA secretary to demonstrate a framework for resuming operation in the event of a terror disruption and a description of current and future public outreach and educational initiatives to inform the public on how to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from a terrorist attack on covered transportation.
  • The TSA secretary to assign at least three risk-based tiers to types of transportation. High and medium-risk tiers statuses would be required.
    • In 6 months, a high or medium risk tier would be required to conduct a vulnerability assessment, prepare and submit a security plan based on guidelines for vulnerability assessments and implementation. The assessments would include platforms, stations, bus and intermodal terminals, tunnels, bridges, switching and storage areas and information systems, physical security, passenger and cargo security.
  • Grants to be made for security improvements for perimeter protection systems, technologies to reduce vulnerabilities of rail cars, passenger station security, tunnel protection, evacuation improvements, inspection technologies, communications equipment, chemical and biological detection including canine teams, surveillance equipment, cargo and passenger screening, border control, emergency response equipment and funding and test demonstration activities.
  • Grants for Amtrak to carry out projects to make fire and life safety improvements to Amtrak tunnels of the Northeast Corridor. The 6 tunnels in New York get $100 million for ventilation, electrical and fire safety, emergency communications and emergency access and egress for passengers. Baltimore receives $20 million for its tunnel and the Union Station in Washington, D.C. gets $20 million.[1]

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), had the following cosponsors:

[2]


Amendments

The House defeated an amendment that would have prohibited funding from the act to be used on the 10 Amtrak routes that lost the most revenue by a vote of 299-130.[3]


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: Club For Growth 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}

Description:

"Vote on Sessions amendment that would defund the 10 least-profitable long-distance Amtrak routes. The pro-growth vote is "yea" because taxpayers shouldn't be funding an inefficient, government-run monopoly. Failed 130-299."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2008/05/the_2007_congressional_scoreca.php)

Scored vote

Scorecard: American Conservative Union 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"The House defeated an amendment that would have eliminated taxpayer funding of the 10 Amtrak long-distance routes that have lost the most passenger revenue. ACU favored this amendment to restrain wasteful spending."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.acuratings.org/)

Passage

The bill passed, 299-124.


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}

Description:

"Grant legal immunity to individuals who report suspicious activity on transportation systems. March 27. (304-121)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/house_votes.htm)

Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Transportation Security," TheWeekInCongress, March 29, 2007.
  2. "OpenCongress page on H.R. 1401" OpenCongress.
  3. THOMAS page for H.AMDT.64

External resources

External articles

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