2005-08-03 / Features

Gianaris Urges Passage Of Transit Security Legislation

Citing growing concerns over the lack of security in the city subway system following the London bombings last month, Assemblymember Michael Gianaris has called for the immediate passage of his Transit Security Act.

“Recent events highlight the need for our mass transit system to be as safe and secure as possible,” the Astoria lawmaker declared. “Unfortunately, four years after 9/11, the MTA has done little to safeguard our subways and commuter trains.”

Gianaris’ legislation would require the state Office of Homeland Security to review security measures for the entire MTA-controlled infrastructure, including New York City subways and the Metro North and Long Island Rail Roads.

The Homeland Security Office would then be empowered to require enhanced security measures to protect commuters from terrorist plots as well as other disasters, Gianaris (D) said.

“The MTA dropped the ball on protecting New Yorkers’ safety,” Gianaris added. “It’s time to give responsibility to the anti-terrorism experts who know best what needs to be done to maximize our safety.”

Gianaris has been a leading voice in the Assembly and on homeland security issues throughout New York state. He is well recognized for his efforts to protect the sensitive infrastructure. He is the author of the state’s first major anti-terror law after 9/11, the Energy Security Act, which enhances security at power plants and transmission facilities. The law has since been expanded to include chemical storage facilities and is the model for his current proposed Transit Security Act.

Since the London bombings which took more than 50 lives, there have been demands for the MTA to tighten and improve subway, train and bus security. The agency was sharply criticized for failing to take these steps after 9/11 despite receiving large amounts of federal funds to improve security. —John Toscano

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