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APTA Supports Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Security

Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and ­Barbara Comstock (R-VA), co-chairs of the U.S. House ­Public Transportation Caucus, have introduced the bipartisan Securing America’s Facilities, Equipment and Rail: Taking Responsibility for American National Security in Transit (SAFER TRANSIT) Act to strengthen public transit systems and infrastructure.

Both are members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Lipinski also serves on T&I’s Highway and Transit Subcommittee.

“Critical passenger rail safety requirements from the 9/11 Act have yet to be implemented, including 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,” Lipinski said. “With ever-growing security concerns across the nation, my bill directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop a process to follow through on critical security provisions.”

Comstock said she joined Lipinski on the legislation to “make sure our rail and bus carriers are safe as we see an increased threat level to our transportation systems. With a constantly evolving threat environment, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needs to take the lead in the proper oversight of critical transportation systems.”

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

“As public transportation systems continue to face the threat of terrorist and cyber-attacks and regularly respond to other security emergencies in and around public transit facilities, this bill would provide vital federal support to enhance transit security throughout our nation,” said APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White. “The act would develop a Public Transit Security Police Training Program to train law enforcement personnel and continue essential funding for security related research and development.”
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