The House has just passed H.R. 1401, the Rail and Mass Transit Security Act of 2007, by a vote of 299-124, with one Member voting present. This bill is designed to close the security gaps facing rail and mass transit and includes provisions on such issues as training, grants, security planning, research and development, and shipments of sensitive materials. The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to develop a national plan for protecting railways, mass transit and inter-city buses from attacks, and authorizes $6 billion over four years for grants to protect these transportation systems. It also extends “whistleblower” protections to federal employees and contractors and employees of rail, transit and bus systems.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (MS-02):
|Rep. Bennie Thompson:
“Mr. Speaker, three years ago this month, ten explosions shook Madrid’s commuter rail systems killing 191 people and leaving thousands wounded. As Americans we mourned the loss felt by Spain. We wondered whether terrorists would try the same here at home. And then we waited. The next year suicide bombers attacked the tube in London. Last year it was Mumbai. Last month it was New Delhi. Each time we watched and waited — Mr. Speaker, the time for wondering and waiting has come and gone.”