- uploaded: May 10, 2011
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New York (CNN) -- In light of recent findings that al Qaeda was mulling targeting railroad lines to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a senator from New York is calling for tighter rail security.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer proposed an increase in rail security and an Amtrak version of the Secure Flight "no-fly" list.
The proposal stems from material taken from Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound showing al Qaeda was in the early stages of planning an attack to derail trains on September 11 of this year.
Schumer proposed the creation of a "no-ride" list that would check passengers against a list of suspected terrorists to prevent would-be terrorists from boarding trains. The list would be used like the government "no-fly" list that screens air travelers.
"Obviously there are certain things that would have to be done, but Amtrak, unlike our commuter rails or subways, does have a (manifest) of everyone that rides Amtrak," he said. "They check your name as you walk down so it doesn't seem like it's that difficult to do."
He added that he had "discussed it with (Transportation) Secretary (Ray) LaHood and others, and Amtrak, and we're going to work as hard as we can to get this done as quickly as possible."
"While taking Osama bin Laden out last week has been a major victory in fighting terrorism, the war is not over," Schumer said. "We must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves from future terror attacks, and when intelligence emerges that provides insight into potential vulnerabilities, we must act with speed."
He also proposed increased spending on rail security, despite last month's $50 million of cuts to the rail and port security grant program. The program provides rail operators with funding for protection against explosive devices in tunnels, deterrence, and training for rail personnel.
"Let me just say, look, we are much safer on the rails than we were on 9/10/01," he said. "And safety keeps getting better, better and better. When it comes to safety you can never rest."