The Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the Rail Security Act of 2001 which would authorize $1.8 billion to improve rail passenger safety and security.
"Transportation systems are the target of 40% of terrorist attacks worldwide. That is why it is necessary for the government to play a key role in assessing potential security threats to our nation's transportation system," said Senator John McCain (R-AZ), ranking Republican of the committee. "This legislation would fund legitimate safety and security initiatives of our nation's rail transportation network and assess security vulnerabilites."
The bill would also do the following:
Assure accountability and oversight of all associated expenditures.
$515 million for security upgrades for rail transportation provided by Amtrak.
$998 million for the Tunnel Life Safety projects in New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
$254 million for safety and security improvement projects, including accessibility of New York's Penn Station, renovation to two bridges in Connecticut and installation of the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System.
Include provisions to address potential security threats to the nation's rail transportation systems.
Establish criminal sanctions for violent attacks agains railroads, railroad employees and railroad passengers similar to sanctions on attacks agains airlines, sea vessels, motor carriers and pipelines.
Permit rail police officers to enforce the laws on the properties of other railroads.
Direct the Secretary of Transportation to assess the security risks associated with rail transportation and to develop recommendations for target hardening of those areas identified as posing significant risk to public safety.