Senators call on TSA to implement overdue rail safety, security measures

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U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have called for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to apply long-overdue rail safety and security enhancements.

The enhancements originally were required in legislation that Congress passed in 2007.

The two senators sent a letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris last week, which was averted thanks to a group of Americans on the train who stopped the terrorist.

“Tens of millions of riders use our country’s public transportation and passenger rail systems every day, and these networks serve as the backbone of economic activity throughout the country,” the two senators said in the letter. “Our rail and transit networks carry significantly more people per day than our airlines do. Penn Station in New York City, for example, handles half a million passengers each day – making it busier than all three New York City regional airports combined, and the busiest transportation hub in our country. While aviation security is a vital focus of the TSA, your agency also has a critical role to play in protecting rail and transit passengers.”

“Action on many congressional mandates has languished for far too long," the letter said. "The legislation was enacted in August 2007, and these items were all due within one year of that date. As of August 2015 – over seven years since the last deadline – we still do not have final action on these requirements. These are urgent priorities, and completion of these mandates will further prepare us for emerging threats on the horizon.”

In light of frequent terrorist attacks and other safety concerns, the TSA must take every proactive precaution to protect countless people who use U.S. public transportation systems on a daily basis.

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