DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 25, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Chairman, together with Mr. Holt of New Jersey and Mr. Castle of Delaware, this amendment seeks to increase the amount appropriated by H.R. 5441 for rail and transportation security grants from $150 million to $200 million.
The $50 million added to the rail security grants is to be offset by a novel idea today, which is to decrease by $50 million the amount appropriated for the Office of the Under Secretary for Management.
Mr. Chairman, we are grossly underfunding rail security in this country at a time when it should be a major priority. There is an old saying that states that Congress is always fighting the last war. If you look at the area of transportation security, we have spent $22 billion on aviation security, 97 percent of the transportation money, and only 3 percent of transportation security money on rail. So 97 percent, $22 billion, on aviation, and about half a billion dollars on rail security. This flies in the face of experience.
As you look around the world today, the pattern of terrorist activity has been markedly against rail systems. If you go back to 1995, the Tokyo rail system was attacked by sarin gas. The Algerian rebels attacked the Paris subways. Going further, the Chechnyan rebels attacking the Moscow subways, the attacks in Madrid against their commuter rail system, many, many attacks on bus systems in Israel and, most recently, the London attacks against their subway system.
So there is a definite repeated pattern of conduct of these terrorists to attack rail systems. We need to be aware that they are looking at attacking our rail system. You would think that we would take appropriate steps to address that, given the fact that five times as many people travel by rail as travel by air.
Rather than addressing that woeful state of rail transit security funding, the current administration has actually sought to further shortchange these critical transportation systems. Most recently, the President's FY 2007 budget request allocated only $37 million to the Transportation Security Administration for non-aviation transportation security. That is less than 1 percent of TSA's budget, 1 percent for rail. Moreover, the President again proposed the outright elimination of rail and transit security grants.
Accordingly, I would like to first commend Chairman ROGERS and Ranking Member SABO for their great efforts to preserve separate funding for rail security. However, I am greatly concerned that rail and transit security grant funding has remained at $150 million under the past two DHS appropriations bills. In addition, I am equally concerned that the bill under consideration today proposes to appropriate the same $150 million for FY 2007.
Mr. Chairman, for these reasons, I urge my colleagues to support our amendment.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT