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Jun 3, 2011 12:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Bishop Calls For More Spending On Rail Security

Jun 7, 2011 4:55 PM

An amendment proposed by U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, which aimed to increase federal funding for rail and mass transit security by $75 million, was rejected by the Republican majority in the House on Thursday, June 2—a move criticized by Mr. Bishop, who noted that Al Qaeda has plans to target America’s railroads.

“The American people deserve better than this,” Mr. Bishop said in a press release issued on Thursday, June 2. “They deserve a Congress that works to protect them and makes decisions based on the facts.”

In a floor speech supporting his amendment, he explained that information found at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, revealed that America’s railroads are in danger of attack on the 10th anniversary of September 11.

The amendment called for the Department of Homeland Security to increase spending on transportation security and counterterrorism for the next fiscal year. The increase in grants to state and local first responders would be fully offset with a decrease in funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, under review by the National Academy of Sciences due to safety concerns.

Instead, the bill that was passed by House Republicans takes nine existing grant programs that were previously funded separately and joins them together into one funding stream. The programs will now receive $1 billion, a 65-percent cut from the amount requested by President Barack Obama, according to Mr. Bishop’s office. This leaves $552 million available for urban areas, ports and transit security grants, a 56-percent cut from the last fiscal year. Mr. Bishop’s bill would have increased that amount by $75 million.

The chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, was the only Republican to vote for Mr. Bishop’s amendment. In the vote for final passage of the bill, he was one of 20 who voted against it because of his opposition to the restructured division of grants.

Department of Homeland Security has plans to move forward with the new billion-dollar National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will replicate many of the existing functions already conducted at other federal labs, according to Mr. Bishop.

“Fourteen million Americans ride mass transit every day in our nation’s urban areas, with millions more riding commuter or passenger rail each year,” Mr. Bishop said. “If we understand the clear threat to these passengers, and accept that efforts to protect them are underfunded, we must do more to keep them safe.”

His statement also addressed his disagreement with the plan to sell the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center in Southold Town in order to partially offset the cost of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility construction in the Midwest. He added that he will continue to be an advocate for the Plum Island facility and its study of animal diseases.

“While DHS insists that a new, billion-dollar animal disease research lab in the heart both of cattle country and tornado alley is completely safe, both GAO and the National Academy of Sciences have found many faults in safety and cost overruns.” Mr. Bishop said. “In fact, most of us agree with NAS that the risk of a release of foot-and-mouth disease in America’s heartland must be better addressed before DHS proceeds with construction.”

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addressing the anemic economic data that was released today and the jarring lack of job growth should be the only item on the agenda at the moment. in my opinion, this might be important but the people with whom i associate would like to read press-releases about bi-partisan cooperation towards fixing the actual causes of what has taken place over the last 4 years. if the mta could ever clean up the shadiest operation in the nyc bureaucratic complex they might be able to apply the mta tax solely ...more
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Jun 3, 11 6:28 PM
Suggesting a one time $75 mil expenditure would make any meaningful improvement in security, in the context of the largest public transportation system in the world, is nothing but political theater.

To put this in context, the MTA spends $1.8 BILLION a year just paying interest on its debt.

Still, it's always entertaining to see how pro-national security and pro-war the leftist bloc and their enablers have suddenly become in an effort to innoculate themselves from criticism about ...more
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jun 3, 11 9:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
That is incredible. I didn't even catch that. You're right..we are talking about $75 million here. If 14 million ride the rails EVERY DAY, then adding $75 million in annual spending would increase spending by $0.02 per person per work day. That is 1 penny to and from work. Do you think the money might be taken from the increased price of a ticket? I would think that these days an expenditure needs to be in the hundreds of billions before it even makes section 2 under the fold. This makes ...more
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Jun 4, 11 6:27 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Jun 4, 11 6:28 AM
Yes We Cain !
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jun 4, 11 7:31 PM
Thank You Congressman Bishop for setting the correct priorities and "keeping your wits about you" during this time of anger and misinformation.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jun 5, 11 10:55 AM
Indeed the spiders have gotten very good at spinning their silk.

Oh, what a tangled web...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 6, 11 9:03 PM