N.Y. MTA to add 46 police officers trained in counterterrorism

MTA to hire police officers trained in counterterrorism to protect rail roads, Grand Central, Penn Station


The MTA says it plans to hire dozens of new police officers trained in counterterrorism measures to protect commuter railroads and major transit hubs like Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will hire 46 police officers to patrol major hubs, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway, officials announced Monday. The MTA Police Department is a 700-member force whose mission is to safeguard the rail network and transit hubs. Hiring of the additional officers is expected to cost $3 million under the MTA's 2016 budget.

MTA officials said police officers have been trained in countering active shooters.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced Monday that the state was making a new smartphone app available for free for anyone to report suspicious activity as part of a "See Something, Send Something" campaign.

The app allows Android or iPhone users to send a photo or a note about suspicious activity to the State Intelligence Center, which will assess the tips. It does not replace 911.

The new initiatives come amid heightened concerns about terrorism after the Paris attacks at a stadium, concert hall and restaurants that left more than 100 people dead.


   President Obama signs two-week highway bill with autopen

From THEHILL.Com - President Obama has signed into law a bill that extends federal transportation funding through Dec. 4. Funding had been set to expire Friday night.

White House officials said Obama signed the measure using an autopen, "given the need for this extension and given the fact that the President is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean."

The bill, passed this week by both the House and Senate, buys time for Congress to agree to a long-term deal.

Obama has railed against short-term transportation funding patches, but he signed the bill that was sent to him on Friday morning to prevent an interruption in the nation's road and transit funding ahead of the busy holiday travel season.

“The House and Senate are making good progress in resolving differences between their respective multi-year surface transportation reauthorization proposals," House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said in a statement when the highway patch was introduced in the House Monday.

"The conference committee needs the time necessary to meet in public, complete negotiations, and produce a final measure that helps improve America’s infrastructure," Shuster continued. "This clean extension provides time for that process to occur and for the House and Senate to vote on the final legislation, without shutting down transportation programs and projects in the meantime.”

The temporary highway bill does not include any new money. Lawmakers included enough road funding in the three-month transportation bill that was approved in July to last until the end of the year, in case more time was needed to finish work on a multiyear fix.

The earlier patch was extended in October until Friday. But lawmakers were running out of time to reach a bicameral agreement before the scheduled interruption in road and transit spending, so another temporary extension.....    READ MORE >



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