May 11, 2011
Earlier this week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent letters to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Senate appropriators urging a push to increase rail security and create an Amtrak “no ride” list in light of evidence showing Al Qaeda leaders were in the early planning stages of a potential terrorist attack on U.S. rail systems.
Schumer plans to seek for more rail security funding to increase track inspections at commuter and passenger railroads, and increase monitoring and support for local law enforcement security personnel at local train stations. Last month, rail and port security grant funding was cut by $50 million under a federal budget compromise, but “new circumstances” require reconsideration and greater investment in rail safety, Schumer said in a prepared statement. The government should boost funding for the Transit Security Grant Program, which provides rail operators monies to protect track against explosive devices in tunnels and train rail personnel, he said.