New Legislation to Secure Rail, Trucks, Pipelines

The leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee for the new 110th Congress have introduced legislation designed to improve security for freight rail lines and pipelines and the trucking industry.

On Jan. 4, Senate Commerce Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the top Republican on the committee, introduced the Transportation Security Improvement Act (S. 184).

The comprehensive legislation re-establishes the TSA as the lead agency for rail and trucking security and authorizes $1.25 billion forthe agency over the next three years.

The Transportation Security Improvement Act requires the TSA to conduct a railroad sector threat assessment and submit prioritized recommendations for improving rail security.

The bill also calls for the TSA and the DOT to clarify respective security roles for rail security.

The legislation also would subject foreign commercial drivers transporting hazardous materials in the U.S. to similar security background checks that U.S. drivers have to undergo.

The bill also would require motor carriers of high-hazard material shipments to have wireless tracking and communications capabilities and written plans for highway routes of these shipments.

The Transportation Security Improvement Act also would require theTSA and DOT to design a pipeline security and incident recovery planand create a program for pipeline security inspections and enforcement.

Legislation Also Would Strengthen Rail

Consistent with the Rail Security Act passed in the 108th Congress, the Transportation Security Improvement Act also would provide grants through TSA to Amtrak and other passenger rail, as well as freightrail, to upgrade security across the entire system.

The legislation would also provide funding through DOT to make security and safety enhancements to Amtrak railroad tunnels in the Northeast Corridor.