Carper Criticizes Senate Failure to Increase Rail and Transit Security Funds

Senate Refuses to Beef Up Security for Buses, Subways, Rail Systems

WASHINGTON (July 14, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today criticized the Senate for once again failing to provide needed increases for rail and transit security, even in the wake of the London attacks last week that killed more than 50 people and exposed vulnerabilities here at home. During debate Thursday afternoon on the fiscal 2006 homeland security spending bill, the Senate rejected various amendments that would have increased rail and transit security funds by more than $1 billion. As it stands now, the homeland security legislation includes only $100 million for transit security – a $50 million cut from current funding levels, which Carper already said were inadequate. “For too long we’ve ignored the need to do more to protect our subways, our rail lines and our city bus systems,” said Carper. “Last week, more than 50 people were killed and 700 injured when terrorists bombed the London Underground and a bus. Last year, almost 200 people died in Madrid after a commuter rail line was bombed. Yet still the Congress fails to act. Our rail and transit lines remain vulnerable, and we’re still not doing enough to prevent or respond to future terrorist attacks.” Carper, who has fought for years to increase rail and transit security funds, said more money is needed to hire additional police officers, install new surveillance cameras and other equipment, employ more bomb-sniffing dogs, and construct better lighting and escape routes to prevent and respond to potential terrorist attacks. Carper noted that since 9-11, the federal government has spent $20 billion on aviation security but only $400 million on rail and transit security – a disparity that needs to be corrected. “We’ve spent 50 times more money on airline security since 9-11 than we’ve spent on rail and transit security,” said Carper. “No one’s arguing that airline security isn’t necessary, but is the risk 50 times greater to our airlines than to our public transportation system? I would argue it’s not.” Carper continued, “Amtrak and our local transit agencies are doing all they can, but the federal government has not done its fair share. We need to stand up and take responsibility before the disasters that struck Madrid and London strike us.”