A group of bipartisan U.S. Senators introduced a bill today that would compel the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work towards securing trains, highways, and ports more similarly to U.S. airports.

Under the new legislation, the TSA will partner with rail providers to check rail passengers against the terrorist watch list, which could result in much more stringent security at passenger rail stations around the country. The number of canine detection teams would be increased as well.

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The bill would also, essentially, force the White House to specify how much TSA funding is going to air, ground, rail, or sea security individually.

Given the TSA’s security line breakdown this summer, this could either make it easier for lawmakers to target funds in order to solve staffing snafus, or make it harder for the TSA at large to manage its finances. The specter of another security line breakdown also looms this Fall.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the bill which is cosponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

“As we’ve seen recently, train and subway stations aren’t immune to terrorist attacks,” said Nelson in a statement. “Despite this fact, the majority of TSA activities focus on security at airports. This bill says that TSA should take into account all forms of transportation when it comes to security and provides the agency with some tools needed to get it done.”

The introduction of the bill comes not only days after bombing attempts at train platforms in New Jersey, but on the heels of a damning report from the U.S. Inspector General that suggested that the TSA “should develop and implement a risk-based security strategy that encompasses all transportation modes” and streamline its budgeting policy.

The full text of the bill is posted below.

Download (PDF, 91KB)

Tags: tsa
Photo Credit: A group of U.S. Senators are looking to increase security at surface transportation stations across the country. Here, an Amtrak train departs Wilmington, De. YU-JEN SHIH / Flickr