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H.R. 2217, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LYNCH. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment increases surface transportation security funding by about $15.6 million, bringing it to the enacted FY 2013 level of $124.3 million. This would be offset by a reduction in a similar amount to the Office of the Under Secretary for Management.

Last April, the United States received a chilling reminder that it remains a target for attacks by terrorists and their sympathizers when two men detonated bombs in my home city at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Just 1 week later, authorities foiled a plot to attack a passenger train running between Canada and the U.S.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, we, as a Nation, undertook--and rightly so--a massive effort to strengthen aviation security. We invested significant resources into making our skies safer. I strongly supported those efforts but would also caution that we cannot forget that other forms of transportation remain vulnerable to attack.

Since fiscal year 2002, $69.3 billion in funding has been dedicated to aviation security. However, during that same period, surface transportation security has been funded at about $3.3 billion. Less than 5 percent of our transportation security funding has gone to our transit systems--our rails and buses.

Now it is sometimes said that our military planners are guilty of fighting the last war. I believe that in the war on terror, my fear is that it may be the case here.

Over the last number of years, we have seen buses and passenger rail systems targeted throughout Europe and Asia. I'll just mention a few.

As I mentioned, in April of 2013, there was an al Qaeda-linked plot to attack a passenger train running between New York and Toronto. In July 2006, seven bomb blasts over 11 minutes took place in a suburban railway in Mumbai; 209 were killed and over 700 injured.

In March 2004, coordinated bombings on the Madrid commuter rail system resulted in 191 killed and 1,800 injured. In February 2004, two suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro stations; at least 40 were killed and over 100 injured. As well in Israel, France and Japan, they have suffered similar attacks on their bus and railway systems.

Many people don't realize that U.S. passenger rail systems carry about five times as many people as do airlines. For a potential terrorist looking to cause as much damage and panic as possible, we cannot ignore the fact that our rails and buses are a target. This amendment is one step to better secure our surface transportation systems that move millions of Americans each and every day.

I urge my colleagues to support both this amendment and the main bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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