WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe has introduced legislation to create a new pilot initiative to screen passengers and carry-on baggage on the Amtrak passenger rail system.
“By conducting a limited test of security screening of passengers and carry-on baggage on certain Amtrak routes, we can determine the feasibility of expanding screening to other Amtrak stations. Moreover, by starting with a cross-section of stations throughout the network, we can gain perspective on the expense, the infrastructure, and the personnel who might be needed to bring screening systemwide,” said Snowe, a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation.
Snowe’s legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. John Breaux, D-La., chairman of the surface transportation subcommittee, will direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to initiate a demonstration project at five of the 10 stations with the heaviest passenger traffic. Amtrak would be required to conduct random passenger and carry-on baggage checks or screening at these stations. Under the legislation, the Secretary of Transportation would be given authority to select additional stations in order to determine how screening works at smaller facilities. Snowe said the legislation envisions examination of X-ray and explosive detection devices, and metal detectors that would help assure safety on Amtrak.