Are Our Rails as Safe as Our Planes?

Published: Aug. 16, 2016 at 4:33 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – When it comes to terror and transportation, Americans have been focusing on threats against airports and airplanes. Attacks in Europe, however, have prompted many frequent train riders to express concern over safety on Amtrak and other forms of public rail transportation.

“Anyone can get on anywhere,” says American Publican Transportation Association’s Randy Clarke. “We’re supposed to be a flexible system.”

Clarke says there are 11 billion transit trips in the United States every year, 17 times more than all of domestic aviation. With that high number, he says, it is nearly impossible to expect the same level of security as people see at airports.

“Transit can’t operate nor should it operate that way. We’re about moving people efficiently and as effectively as possible.”

Clarke believes screening everyone who got on a train would change the way Americans travel. Instead, he sees the “See Something, Say Something” campaign as integral to rail safety. Additionally, Clarke says a officials consistently engage in vulnerability and threat assessments.

Though Clarke believes the rails are safe, he says there is at least $6 billion the industry needs from the federal government. Senator Dan Sullivan sits on the senate’s transportation committee. He says while he has received many briefings on airport threats, both public and classified, he recognizes the lack of focus on train systems.

“The goal is to anticipate 9/10 and not 9/12,” he says.

As of now, there is no legislation proposed to address the $6 billion Clarke has requested.

Amtrak provided the statement below: