The "No Spin" Story of Transit Security Funding
Don't buy all the rot that is being spread about who did what, and how dumb somebody is, and how they don't care about anybody but the rich guys who fly. If you want the straight story, go to today's article at Railway Age. It's a good article, and here is what it says to me.
The Senate vote was 96 to 1! Seems kinda hard to pin this one on the Administration, and whatever effect they have on Senate Republicans. It has also recently been reported that the Administration has not spent the money that was already appropriated for Transit Security. That may not be a good thing, unless the money was going to be spent just to spend money. And that could be. I'm not hearing a whole lot of good ideas on how Federal Money is going to buy security for transit riders. One idea I have heard is to buy "more surveillance cameras", but others have said that there are problems. Any other ideas on how this money could be spent?
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff did comment in a way that made headlines. But some of these comments sound like what a new guy in Washington would say before knowing how the gristmill works inside the beltway. Comparing catastrophies by comparing death rates will create a public relations nightmare every time. And he did say it. But, on the other hand, his comment "We couldn't have people walk thru magnometers" as it relates to transit security nails it.
APTA has made a rebuttal to the controversial stuff he said that is far more salient than some of the Democratic vile we've heard, but in any event, I do think Senator Liebermann was correct in confronting Chertoff as he did.
Chertoff also makes the distinction about local control versus Federal Control. Could he have chosen better words? Once again, yes. And he should have. But he didn't.
I am willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt for now. I did predict alot of political rhetoric, and Chertoff has provided the grist for the critics to mill. Quieter and calmer heads should prevail here. And hopefully, Federal Money will get us what we all want, rather than just some political points for somebody's Senator.