The Preempt Bill: On Track Toward Addressing Rail-Related Terrorism?

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States (U.S.) and the March 11, 2004 attack on a commuter train in Madrid, Spain have forced many nations to turn to the question of what can be done to enhance transportation security.Among the proposed bills the U.S. congress is considering is the Protecting against Enemy Efforts through Modernization, Planning and Technology Act (PREEMPT) PREEMPT would enhance security for passenger and freight rail systems against terrorist attacks such as the one in Madrid and provide contingency plans for keeping them operational following a terrorist attack. The paper considers the passage of PREEMPT imperative because if the various reasons why rail transportation is an ideal terrorist target, such as: due to the high concentration of passengers, rail transport provides a target to kill in quantity; public rail transport allows terrorists to blend into the high concentration of people; a terrorist attack on public rail transport could cause disruption and alarm because of its circulatory system of urban environment; the freight rail system transports over half of the nation's hazardous materials; and, because aviation received the majority of federal anti-terrorism funding to date, the rail transport system has not been able to sustain or improve on its security measures.


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  • Accession Number: 01003741
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2005 11:34AM