Boston transit denied funding on chemical sensors

MBTA sought to expand project; feds say systems can't warn travelers fast enough

"A large chemical or biological attack for a transit system with no early warning alert system and no recovery plans could easily cause havoc to our city's economy as well as devastate the confidence of the riding public in the safety of our transit system," he wrote in a July 2 letter to the Department of Homeland Security.

Another Homeland Security spokeswoman, Amy Kudwa, said based on the current level of threats and consequences, the Office of Health Affairs is focused more on biological threats than the type of chemical screening that the T is seeking.

In the meantime, MacMillan said he will spend this year's grant on training employees, public awareness campaigns, station security, underground tunnel protection, and security at rail and bus yards.