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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, this proposed amendment has a simple purpose: to prevent the reckless cuts to passenger rail security.

Mr. Speaker, you probably read that at the time the al Qaeda leader bin Laden was killed he was planning attacks on U.S. passenger rail systems. Even as we debate this bill, our intelligence and law enforcement communities are running to ground leads about these and other potential terrorist plots. This discovery underscores the need to sustain, not to cut, transit security funding.

Following the terrible events of 2001, our Nation took unprecedented steps to secure our Nation's airlines--appropriately so. However, transit security grant programs remain badly underfunded. We need these funds to field canine teams, install surveillance cameras and security fencing, provide the resources for incident response training, and a host of other mission-critical activities that are required to help secure our trains and buses.

Transit provides 18 times as many passenger trips as aviation, but receives 12 times less security funding. In other words, aviation security receives 215 times as much Federal funding per passenger as land transit. We have to do much, much better because the threat is real. In 2004, terrorist cells conducted successful and deadly bombings in Spain; the next year in the U.K.; in India; in Belarus, hundreds of people killed, thousands of people wounded. Let's not put off the necessary rail security steps until after the tragedy here. Let's thwart bin Laden's plans.

I urge support for this amendment.

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