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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Transit security bill introduced in Congress

U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) have introduced legislation aimed at improving security on transit rail and buses.

The lawmakers introduced the Securing America's Facilities, Equipment, and Rail: Taking Responsibility for American National Security in Transit (SAFER TRANSIT) Act to address "constantly evolving" security threats against transportation systems, they said in a jointly issued press release.

Lipinski and Comstock, who co-chair the House Public Transportation Caucus, noted that key provisions in the 9/11 Act that would increase security on passenger-rail systems have not yet been implemented. Those provisions include a regulation for rail carriers to complete security assessments, a regulation for rail security training and a program for conducting background checks on rail employees.

"With ever-growing security concerns across the nation, our bill directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop a process to follow through on critical security provisions," Lipinski said.

The TSA deploys Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) at high-risk transportation locations to increase the level of law enforcement visibility and terrorism deterrence.

"Unfortunately, authorization for VIPR teams and Surface Transportation Security Inspectors expired in 2011," Lipinski and Comstock said, adding that their legislation would reauthorize the VIPR program.

The bill also would reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) research programs through 2020; create a transit security training program through the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and reauthorize the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program, which funds training, security enhancements, passenger screening and vehicle security measures.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/30/2017