TSA Issues Final Rule for Surface Transportation Security

The Transportation Security Administration issued a new final rule on March 23 that requires “higher-risk” surface transportation providers –  including certain railroads, public transportation systems and over-the-road buses – to provide security training for certain employees.

[Above photo by the Maryland Transit Administration.]

In special consideration of ongoing challenges to the surface transportation industry in response to the COVID-19, TSA said in a statement that it will delay the effective date of the final rule from the normal 30 days to 90 days from the date of its publication in the Federal Register.

Photo by Maryland Transit Administration

The agency noted that this new rule is intended to solidify the baseline of security for higher-risk surface transportation operations and sustain a commitment to ensuring employees within higher-risk surface systems and operations are prepared to help prevent a terrorist act and mitigate the consequences.

“Surface transportation systems are, by nature, open systems. Unlike the aviation environment, direct responsibility to secure surface transportation systems falls primarily on the system owners and operators,” TSA explained. “Many of these owners and systems have already enhanced their security baseline through voluntary measures, including actions supported by the Department of Homeland Security through funding provided under various grant programs.”

The agency added that this rule is but one part of TSA’s comprehensive programs intended to enhance surface transportation security, as it plans to continue working with industry stakeholders via a number of ongoing initiatives to harden “soft targets” in public transportation, freight and passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses through several existing programs and measures.

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