Biden Urges Renewed Focus on Rail Security in Wake of Terrorist Attack in Mumbai
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement in the wake of the terrorist attack today in India, and reiterated his call for additional funding to improve rail security in the United States.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in India who were hit with a shameful attack earlier today. While we mourn with them, this must serve as a wake up call here at home. For the second time in the last two years, a major ally has been hit with a terrorist attack on its rail infrastructure at the same time the U.S. Senate is debating the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. While we failed to take action after the attacks in Madrid and after last summer's attacks in London, today's events must spur action in the U.S. Senate.
"We know that our rails are vulnerable. The FBI has warned us repeatedly of threats against our rail systems, and just last week, law enforcement officials disrupted a plot against rail tunnels in New York City. Such an attack could be devastating. At any given time there are up to 21,000 people in tunnels and platforms around Penn Station in New York City, and Amtrak carries 64,000 passenger trips per day over its 22,000 mile network.
"We simply must do more. Just as I did last year, I have filed an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would provide an additional $1.1 billion to enhance rail security. This amendment would specifically provide $670 million to ensure that our tunnels have sufficient lighting, ventilation and escape routes, it would provide $250 million for freight rail security upgrades, and it would provide $65 million for the Amtrak Police to hire new officers, harden targets, and fund other critical security upgrades.
"Yet again, an unfortunate tragedy abroad must serve as a wake up call for us here at home. Unfortunately, we have remained asleep at the switch on rail security since 9/11. It's time to change course, and I hope that my colleagues will support this amendment."