House Dem introduces bill to protect mass transit systems from attacks

House Dem introduces bill to protect mass transit systems from attacks

A House Democrat introduced a bill on Tuesday designed to better protect mass transit systems and other public spaces from terrorism.

The measure from Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) comes as terrorists have increasingly targeted less-secure areas in the face of heightened aviation security.

Coleman's legislation would restore and strengthen critical programs aimed at securing so-called “soft targets,” such as railroads, buses and the public areas of airports.

It would encourage federal partnerships with state and local stakeholders to protect transit systems, require a review of whether people should be able to carry guns into public transportation areas and mandate the distribution of best practices for securing against vehicle-based attacks, such as the recent one in New York.

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“It has become increasingly clear that the federal government has fallen behind in ensuring that our mass transit systems are secure and safe. Knowing that, I am appalled by the Trump Administration's proposal to cut the few existing transit security programs,” said Coleman, vice ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee.

“It is imperative that, as federal legislators, we learn from the deadly attacks we’ve seen worldwide and take all the necessary steps to prevent such tragedy on American soil.”

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula this summer instructed its followers in an online edition of its English-language propaganda magazine how to derail trains in Europe and the U.S.

But the Trump administration has proposed drastically cutting funding for the Transit Security Grant Program, which doles out money to transit agencies so that they can implement security measures.

Coleman’s measure would authorize $400 million for the program, direct the Transportation Security Administration to maintain 60 bomb-sniffing dog teams and restore funding for the Law Enforcement Officer Reimbursement Program.