The Commerce Committee will convene a hearing on federal efforts to secure the nation’s railroad and surface transportation system. Additionally, the Committee will receive comments on S.184, “The Surface Transportation and Rail Security of 2007,” known as the STARS Act.
Daniel K. InouyeSenatorLast year, this Committee’s bipartisan efforts strengthened the security of our nation’s ports and maritime vessels, with the passage of the SAFE Port Act, which began a new era in maritime security. Despite this monumental effort, we only completed a third of our job because the final version of the bill failed to include Senate-passed provisions to strengthen rail and surface transportation security.This Committee remains committed, through its leadership and expertise on these important issues, to enacting legislation this session that would strengthen the security of our railroads, trucks, intercity buses and pipelines. Toward this end, I, along with Vice Chairman Stevens, Senators Lautenberg, Rockefeller, Kerry, Dorgan, Boxer, Snowe, Pryor, Carper, and others, introduced S. 184, the Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007, also known as the STARS Act, on January 4, 2007. This bill includes the rail and surface transportation security provisions from the Senate-passed SAFE Port Act, offering Congress a second chance to enact a comprehensive transportation security bill.The Administration witnesses will testify this morning about S. 184 as well as about their current efforts to strengthen surface transportation security in the void of Congressional direction. By bringing all the federal agencies with significant responsibility for surface transportation security together at this hearing, the Committee is seeking to gain a complete understanding of what each agency has accomplished, and what remains to be done.The attacks on critical surface transportation systems in Madrid and London are a constant reminder of what can happen in our communities if we fail to act promptly and effectively. We must address the vulnerabilities and risks facing these systems here at home in a comprehensive and coordinated way before we become the next victim of a successful attack.The provisions in S. 184 were endorsed unanimously by the Senate in the 109th Congress, as well as by industry and labor. I look forward to working with all the members of the Commerce Committee, particularly Senators Lautenberg and Smith, the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee, to perfect and enact this legislation as soon as possible.
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable Edmund HawleyAssistant Secretary for Homeland SecurityTransportation Security Administration
The Honorable John HillAdministratorFederal Motor Carrier Safety AdministrationSTATEMENT OFJOHN H. HILL, ADMINISTRATOR OF THEFEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATIONBEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATIONJANUARY 18, 2007INTRODUCTIONChairman Inouye, Vice-Chairman Stevens, and Senators of the Committee, thank you for inviting me today to discuss the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) role in contributing to the security of truck and bus transportation on our highways. I am pleased to appear before you to describe FMCSA’s outreach, education, research, enforcement and compliance programs that help improve our homeland security.Mr. Chairman, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was created in 1999 with the mission of improving the safety of truck and buses operating on our Nation’s roads. Safety remains the primary mission of our Agency - the primary function of our regulations and our programs. FMCSA also plays a role in the security of the truck and bus industries due to our familiarity with, and oversight of these industries and the close and sometimes overlapping relationship between safety and security. The proposed legislation touches directly on one of the areas where security concerns directly impact our existing regulations – the routing of hazardous materials.BACKGROUNDFollowing the tragic events of September 11, 2001, FMCSA recognized immediately the risk of terrorism associated with the transportation of hazardous materials. Within a month, the agency, with our State partners, began visiting all motor carriers that transport hazardous materials to ensure they were aware of their potential vulnerability and discuss basic security measures. We felt these measures critical as many of the companies in the trucking industry are small carriers with only a few trucks and lacking the resources to employ full-time security staff. In seven months, State and FMCSA staff conducted over 30,000 Security Sensitivity Visits on hazardous materials carriers.FMCSA also began to take other steps to raise awareness about the security risks posed by the transportation of hazardous materials, and indeed the potential for terrorists to use the vehicles we regulate, trucks and buses, as pawns in their plans to inflict terror on our country. Despite the strictly safety mission given to the agency by the Congress, these measures were deemed justified and indeed critical, particularly before the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and in the early days of that organization when they were rightly focused on aviation security.Among the steps FMCSA took was an outreach campaign aimed at raising security awareness in the trucking industry and outreach to the law enforcement community to make them aware of the potential use of trucks, particularly those transporting hazardous materials, as weapons of terrorism. To complement these outreach efforts, we created a training course called “Trucks n’ Terrorism” to make law enforcement officials aware of indicators that should raise suspicions regarding the legitimacy of truck transportation. The agency also worked with the motorcoach industry to address security issues involving transportation of people including conducting a vulnerability assessment of the motorcoach industry and training to raise the security awareness of motor coach drivers and company officials.Additionally, FMCSA began a significant effort to test technologies that had the potential to improve security, particularly in regard to the transportation of hazardous materials. Many of these technologies such as satellite tracking of vehicles and emergency communication devices were already in use as tools to improve safety or efficiency. FMCSA’s Hazardous Materials Field Operational Test demonstrated how these technologies could also be used to improve security and quantified the costs and benefits of these technologies. The Hazardous Materials Field Operational Test also piloted the concept of a public sector response system. FMCSA provided a copy of the report and its findings to the Department of Homeland Security in 2005. We are working with DHS on further development of this system.FMCSA also worked with the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), now the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to develop regulations requiring hazardous materials carriers and shippers to develop security plans and train their employees about hazardous materials security. Following implementation of this regulation, FMCSA took steps to educate both the industry and our field staff and State partners. FMCSA worked with PHMSA, various industry associations, and the now established TSA to develop a booklet to assist hazardous materials motor carriers, particularly small businesses, in developing an effective security plan. Copies of this document were distributed to every hazardous materials carrier in the FMCSA database.To promote enforcement of the new regulation, FMCSA developed a 16-hour training course to educate our field personnel and State partners, previously focused solely on safety issues, about basic security practices. The agency also developed procedures for checking compliance with hazardous materials security regulations in what we call a Security Contact Review. To date, FMCSA has conducted over 4,000 Security Contact Reviews and assessed over 400 civil penalties for failure to comply with the hazardous materials security regulations.In 2004, FMCSA promulgated regulations to require carriers of certain hazardous materials to obtain a hazardous materials safety permit. This program applies to carriers that transport high explosives, high route controlled quantities of radioactive materials, materials that are toxic by inhalation hazard, and large quantities of liquefied natural gas. Currently over 1,100 motor carriers have a current hazardous materials safety permit. The program is an example of an area where security overlaps FMCSA’s safety mission. In promulgating this regulation, based primarily on safety concerns expressed in the legislation requiring this program, the agency did incorporate some basic security requirements. However, it should be made clear that while we developed a regulation that has some security requirements, it was not meant to be a comprehensive security regulation and the materials the agency chose to make applicable to this requirement were based on the legislative intent and safety considerations rather than an in-depth analysis of security risk.FMCSA’S CURRENT SECURITY ROLEMuch of the security activity I have just described occurred before, or in the early days of the TSA. For the past few years, our Agency has been working with TSA to transfer the primary security responsibility for the truck and bus industries to TSA. This is not to say that we have abandoned any role in security. As recognized in Executive Order 13416, “Strengthening Surface Transportation Security” both Departments have responsibilities in the area of transportation security.FMCSA’s primary security activities at this point involve the transportation of hazardous materials for which Congress gave the Department specific shared responsibility in the Homeland Security Act of 2002. FMCSA continues to ensure compliance with security training and security plan regulations through our Security Contact Reviews and take enforcement action for non-compliance as warranted. We have met with TSA to coordinate these visits to motor carriers with the Corporate Security Reviews conducted by TSA personnel to ensure there is not duplication of effort or unnecessary burden placed on the industry. We have also begun work to look at including security considerations in our long-standing regulations specifying procedures for States to follow when making hazardous materials routing distinctions.Our Agency also remains involved in consulting with DHS and TSA on various issues ranging from our joint regulations for background checks for drivers holding Commercial Driver’s Licenses with hazardous materials endorsements, implementation of the REAL ID Act, to participation on panels to make decisions about security grants for motorcoach companies.HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ROUTING AND ROUTE PLANSAs I mentioned earlier, decisions regarding the routing of hazardous materials is one area FMCSA has identified as relating to security in addition to the safety issues that were the original impetus for the regulations. FMCSA has two sets of regulations governing the routing of hazardous materials. Standards for the routing of non-radioactive hazardous materials (NRHM) and requirements for routing of highway route-controlled quantities (HRCQ) of radioactive materials (RAM). Both parts contain sections setting out requirements States or Indian tribes must follow to establish, maintain, and enforce HM routing designations.To establish routing designations or restrictions, a State or local government or Indian tribe must consider 13 factors such as population density, type of highway, type and quantities of HM, emergency response capabilities, exposure, terrain considerations, alternative routes, effects on commerce, delays in transportation, congestion, and accident history. FMCSA has developed guidelines for designating hazardous materials routes or preferred routes for highway route controlled radioactive materials. Currently security is not required to be a factor considered in making routing decisions and as such, security is not covered in the FMCSA guidance regarding making routing decisions. Last year, FMCSA began a study to: 1) modify existing guidance materials to State and Local governments and Indian tribes in designating routes to ensure the safe and secure transportation of HM; and 2) develop tool(s) that will assist the these entities in assessing the security vulnerabilities of current and proposed HM routes. We expect to complete the study by the fall of 2007.CONCLUSIONMr. Chairman, as the Nation moves to become more secure and protect our citizens from the threat posed by terrorism, it is important that we move deliberately and responsibly; to secure our transportation systems without paralyzing them. That is what FMCSA has attempted to do since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and what we continue to endeavor to do as we support Agencies inside and outside the Department on transportation security initiatives. We look forward to working with your committee and the other agencies present at this hearing today to implement this important piece of legislation.
Ms. Cathleen A. BerrickDirector, Homeland Security and JusticeU.S. Government Accountability Office
The Honorable Richard CanasDirectorOffice of Homeland Security and Preparedness, State of New JerseyTestimonySubmitted by Richard L. Cañas, DirectorNew Jersey Office of Homeland Security and PreparednessBefore theSenate Commerce, Science and Transportation CommitteeFull Committee Oversight Hearing on Federal Efforts forRail and Surface Transportation SecurityThe Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253Thursday, January 18, 2007, 10:00 a.m.Good Morning Chairman Inouye, Vice Chairman Stevens and senators. Thank you for asking me to testify on how together we can improve rail and surface transportation security. There is no question about the priority. I also want to express my gratitude to Senator Lautenberg for his unwavering commitment to transportation security, particularly rail security. I will be commenting briefly on several aspects of the proposed legislation that is before you, and I commend Chairman Inouye, Vice Chairman Stevens, and Senator Lautenberg for sponsoring “The Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007,” which recognizes the need for significant security enhancements.Current intelligence information clearly indicates that the terrorist threat to mass transit, specifically rail infrastructure, remains high. In recent years, terrorists have conducted numerous successful attacks on transit systems worldwide. Mumbai, London, and Madrid come readily to mind.In the New York/New Jersey region there have been multiple, specific threats to rail and subway assets. Several terrorist plots have been thwarted, including a much-publicized plot against the PATH system connecting New York and New Jersey, and two earlier plots directed at the New York City subway system. An individual charged in one of the earlier plots was sentenced recently to 30 years in prison. We continue to see numerous incidents of suspicious activity at or near New Jersey’s rail infrastructure, including photography, videotaping, use of hand counters, placement of fake improvised explosive devices and trespassing.I would like to begin by providing a brief overview of New Jersey’s surface transportation system and thus provide a picture of its magnitude and complexities. I will focus my first comments on both the passenger and freight rail sectors.The passenger rail sector in New Jersey consists of five major public rail organizations: New Jersey Transit, Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH), Port Authority Transit Company (PATCO), Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) and Amtrak. Among these five systems, the annual ridership exceeds 90 million passengers. I’ve attached a more detailed list of the number of lines and their ridership to my testimony. The statistics are impressive indeed. On the other hand, these public and private passenger rail systems are depleted of resources. By that I mean they do not have enough officers, canine units, and technology to properly police and provide security for the heavy passenger loads they carry.On the Freight rail side, New Jersey has 13 rail companies operating within our state. These include three Class I (CSX, Norfolk Southern and Conrail), two Class II and nine Class III railroads, which operate on more than 900 miles of railroad mainline. For those of you not familiar with New Jersey, I must remind the committee that this activity takes place in the most densely populated state in the union. And that in this most densely populated state, our citizens live and work amidst a concentration of chemical, pharmaceutical, petroleum and other industries, a great number of which require hazardous precursor materials trucked, piped or freight-railed to them.New Jersey serves as both destination and a point of origin for hazardous materials, which are among the 43 million tons of material transported across our freight lines annually. The release of toxic substances from a rail car in northern New Jersey would likely cause serious damage to nearby populations and facilities.Shortly after 9/11, the state began working with the transportation sector to develop industry “best management practices,” and in 2004 these were approved. These best practices were initiated in some cases prior to the federal government or TSA developing its industry best practices. The development of these standards and protocols involved working with the private sector, public transit agencies and the federal government. Meanwhile, the passenger rail sector in our state was the first to have the entire transit industry complete the vulnerability assessment using the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Special Needs Tool Kit, a technical assistance program funded by DHS.But New Jersey did not stop there. When I became the Director of New Jersey’s new Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness last March, Governor Corzine asked me to develop a comprehensive rail security strategy and to begin distributing limited state and federal funds — based on risk.Our security forces have increased their presence and patrol of key installations to include specialized canine units. We have also increased the interoperability of emergency responders within subways, tunnels, rail yards and terminals. We have increased the number of “SMART” closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and software at equipment yards where commuter rail coach cars and locomotives are stored. We have also initiated regional programs with the State of New York and the NY/NJ and Delaware River Port authorities to maximize the efforts of our limited resources. And finally, we are using scarce state funds to leverage security initiatives against investment justifications funded by DHS.But our progress has limits. There is a vast gap between what we need to do to enhance transportation security and what funds we have to accomplish that task. Rail, of necessity, operates in an open environment. Mass transit passenger rail, in particular, represents a soft target because it is in the business of moving as many people as possible as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Congress has responded to the threat to mass transit and the system’s vulnerability by authorizing Transit Security Grants, which the Department of Homeland Security administers as part of its Infrastructure Protection Program. We are very appreciative of that effort and believe we are using the funds to the best of our ability.Freight rail carriers also operate in an open environment and are required to transport and safeguard toxic inhalation hazards, or TIH, extremely hazardous materials that are the functional equivalent of chemical plants on rails. DHS has to this point, however, not targeted any similar funding to its Transit Security Grant Program to help bolster the secure movement and storage of these materials.Much more needs and must be done.We are also dependent on the security of our trucking industry, which critically needs to interact with a secure port environment and concomitant federal funding. Once trucks leave the controlled access areas of our ports they are part of the same open environment as rail, buses and ferries and an inclusive strategy for them needs to be considered.Real-time cargo tracking of rail cars to monitor the movement of TIH cars on New Jersey tracks, yards or on sidings is another example. The rail companies need to share this tracking information with security agencies. In this regard, I cannot overstate the importance of fostering public/private partnerships to achieve our mutual goal of assuring a secure transportation system. I am pleased to report that our office has made some progress in this regard, particularly with the railroad company CSX. They have sought out a partnership, shared their insights on rail-based security threats, and even allowed us to have access to their tracking capability. And I want to publicly commend them for that. Leveraging this success, we intend to seek similar partnerships with other carriers.Another shortfall involves TSA. In 2004, TSA undertook a study of the North Jersey freight rail corridor. In 2006, TSA followed up with a Comprehensive Review of the same area. These were thorough and well thought out assessments with positive recommendations. But neither of these reviews by TSA came with any funding to address vulnerabilities that were identified.It is our hope that, as a result of the proposed legislation that this committee is considering, this situation will be set right, and that this committee will support providing funding necessary to close recognized security gaps.We also wholly support the provision in the proposed “Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007” that calls for oversight of all security measures by TSA. Heretofore, the agency responsible for oversight has not always been clear.And finally, the Northeast Corridor line, which connects New Jersey and New York under the Hudson River, handles more than 150,000 NJ TRANSIT and 35,000 Amtrak trips each and every day — relying on a 100-year-old two-track railroad tunnel that provides limited capacity and no redundancy. The Access to the Regions Core Project, including a new commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson will double commuter rail capacity — providing critical system capacity enhancements, desperately needed transportation redundancy, and will be designed to include the latest security features. Moreover, the Amtrak tunnel that we use today is the only link from Boston to Washington for intercity trains, as well as for New York and New Jersey commuter trains.We are also in agreement that Amtrak should remain a strong partner in regional efforts for developing critical vulnerability assessments along the corridor, at its stations or within its tunnels. As you probably are aware, New Jersey’s passenger rail systems run on the same tracks and use the same stations as Amtrak.In closing, I want to thank the Chair and Vice-Chair, as well as all the members of the committee, for allowing me to testify. New Jersey has taken many steps to protect its citizens and facilities by shoring up security on its passenger and freight rail systems. We will continue down that track as fast as we can simply because we must. That is why I find the very fact of today’s hearing a positive and heartening development. Transportation security is a critical issue that must be discussed and debated on the national stage and, again, I thank you for providing that opportunity.# # #
ATTACHMENTNew Jersey Rail Transportation Fact SheetNJ TRANSITRail OperationsRail Lines: 11Directional Route Miles: 951Locomotives in Service: 133Revenue cars in service: 900Rail Stations: 162Weekday ridership: 236,900 tripsWeekend ridership: 142,100 tripsLight Rail OperationsLight Rail lines: 3Directional route miles: 107Light rail fleet: 72Light rail stations: 52Weekday ridership: 45,050 tripsWeekend ridership: 42,700 tripsPATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson)Port Authority of New York and New JerseyWeekday Ridership: 215,115 passengers2005 Passenger Trips: 60.7 millionRoute miles-tunnel: 7.4 milesRoute miles-surface: 6.4 milesPATCO (Port Authority Transit Company)Delaware River Port AuthorityWeekday Ridership: 34,000 passengersTransit Car fleet: 121 vehiclesTrack miles: 14.2Stations: 13AMTRAKTrains in Operation Daily 110Total NJ station usage 3,406,215 (annual boardings and alightings)SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority)2005 Annual Ridership: 299 millionR3 West Trenton 2,634,530 annual passengers (2005)R7 Trenton 2,852,245 annual passengers (2005)Light rail routes: 9Light rail vehicles 159Elevated subway routes: 2Elevated subway vehicles 371Regional rail routes: 13Regional rail vehicles 3492003 Rail Freight Tonnage: 42 million tons