Homeland Security Committee examines mass-transit security

HICKSVILLE - The Homeland Security Committee met in Washington, D.C. today to discuss the safety of the U.S. mass-transit systems.

Five of the nation's top transportation chiefs called on lawmakers to not cut any more funds from security programs aimed at keeping mass-transit systems safe, especially in light of Osama bin Laden's killing.

Last month, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate slashed $50 million in security funds and are asking to cut another 8 percent next year. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, today blasted his House party leaders for approving the cuts.

"If you do that to the subway system, you're essentially choking the city," says NYPD Deputy Commissioner Richard Daddario.

During today's hearing, concerns were expressed about soft terrorist targets, among them railroad stations such as the one in Madrid that was bombed in 2004, claiming 191 lives.

Transit leaders say they use the security grants to install surveillance cameras, anti-explosive and dirty-bomb sensors, and enlarge special manpower teams.

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