NEWS

Over $700 Million in Train Security Funds Go Unspent by Homeland Security

By Matthew Harwood

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has spent only a small percentage of the approximately $750 million Congress appropriated since 2006 to beef up train security, according to Bob Braun, a columnist for New Jersey's Star-Ledger.

In 2006, Congress appropriated $127.8 million for train security but DHS only spent $8.2 million, or 6 percent. The next year Congress appropriated another $262.9 million; DHS spent $9.8 million, less than 4 percent. Last year, Congress gave DHS $359.5 million; it spent $5 million—1.4 percent.

The funds were to protect rail infrastructure like New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, and the New York City subway system.

Lawmakers were livid, Braun reports.

The congressman who spoke about rot and mold -- Hal Rogers from Kentucky, the ranking Republican--charged that, since 9/11, $1.3 billion of $1.5 billion raised for mass transit security grant programs has been "languishing in the coffer.

"The taxpayers are getting screwed," he said.

New Jersey Rep. Steven Rothman (D-9th Dist.) demanded the dismissals of top people in the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, both offices of the federal Department of Homeland Security.

"Heads should roll," he said.

Since 9-11, terrorists have attacked trains or train stations in Madrid, London, and Mumbai. Many security experts believe it's only a matter of time before terrorists target America's railways.

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