Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta warned 250 attendees at a national summit on transportation security that transportation systems are both targets of terrorists and potential weapons to damage or destroy communities.
Mineta outlined a number of initiatives to protect railways, roads, transit systmes, pipelines and waterways, including:
*Creation of a national infrastructure security committee to identify critical transportation assets and protection strategies for all modes;
*Introduction of legislation to create a Transportation Security Administration within the U.S. DOT to spearhead security for all modes of transportation;
*Introduction of the Rail Secuirty Act of 2001 to expand railroad police authority and to assess risks associated with rail transportation and with the 50 most important U.S. ports; and
*Increased security requirements to address the problem of undeclared or hidden shipments of hazardous materials.
Mineta stressed the need for vigilance and commitment to restore confidence in the nation's transportation system, saying "patience is the new form of patriotism."
Security expert Brian Jenkins called upon attendees of the summit to instill a "security mindset," noting that terrorists choose targets which are symbolic or which present a potential for high fatalities. The twin goals of security programs are to save lives and minimize disruption, he said, adding that the maintenance of good communications is essential in the event of an attack.
Dr. Frances Edwards-Winslow, director of emergency preparedness for San Jose, Calif., called for the development and testing of emergency response plans with all partners, and outlined steps to developing such plans.
Dr. Christine Johnson of the Federal Highway Administration highlighted FHWA training programs for evacuation planning and traffic incident management and noted FHWA's guidebook for security assessment of ITS infrastructure.