Thursday, February 19, 2004

House Select Committee Plans to analyze a first-time California study on the threat of terrorism on America's rail system

House Select Committee Plans to analyze a first-time California study on the threat of terrorism on America's rail system.

For the first time since the terrorist attack on Spain Rail system the U. S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security reviews a first-time study on "Terror On The Tracks" Economic Impact produced for OnTrac by LAEDC and Rand Corporation.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 16, 2004

“Southern California has become the nation's primary gateway for two-way international trade,” said Executive Director Christopher Becker of Orange North-American Trade Rail Access Corridor (OnTrac) Joint Powers Authority. “The recent terrorist bombings of Spain’s busy rail system have sent shockwaves to America and other countries involved in the Iraq war and a renewed interest to beef up funding and security of our own transportation system.”

Spain government had insisted that its prime suspect in Thursday's rail bombings was the armed Basque separatist group ETA, even as evidence mounted of an Islamic link in the railway bombings, which wounded 1,500 and left at least 200 dead. It has sent rail security system concerns around the world.

One day after the bombings The House Select Committee On Homeland Security began reviewing the only study of its kind done so far on the nationÂ’s rail system produced by Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and is under review by the Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA.

“The Alameda Corridor East rail lines moved about $116 billion in goods based on the manufacturer’s value in 2000,” said Becker. “The street value was much higher for these products. The street values of rail cargo traveling on the Alameda Corridor East in 2000 were $166 billion.”

Becker, who testified last year at the Congressional Railroad Committee Hearings believes Washington should provide more flexible funding for environmentally beneficial rail projects, and significantly more funding for mega projects and grade crossing programs like Alameda Corridor East.

“The threat of terrorism is real on strategic rail corridors with passenger and freight rail service and we believe that Al Qaeda's apparent interest in rail attacks should be a call to action,” said Counterterrorism Expert Elsa Lee, CEO Advantage SCI, Redondo Beach, CA, who contributed to a-one-of-a-kind Homeland Security report released last fall on the anniversary of 9-11.

A copy of the report “OnTrac Trade Impact Study: National Economic Significance of Rail Capacity and Homeland Security on the Alameda Corridor East (MayoCommunications. com or LAEDC. org ) was sent to the ranking members of the House Select Committee On Homeland Security Friday (March 12, 2004)

“Increasing capacity of rail moves more consumer and military goods, faster, but at the same time added capacity also increases the wait times for drivers at street level rail crossings,” said LAEDC Senior Vice President of Public Policy Wally Baker. 

"Scores of trains delayed ambulance and fire protection in many areas like Placentia," said Becker, "which is why all eyes are on Orange County. This translates into more people possibly dying from health emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes, as well deadly fires. Senator Barbara Boxer's recent study has helped determine the impact of grade crossings in emergency situations. Remember our school children are riding in buses that cross these railroad tracks. About 250 school buses per day cross the tracks just in Placentia."

"By 2010, freight train delays alone will increase from the current 31.9 minutes per day at the five mile, BNSF/Placentia bottleneck to more than three hours. Extended conditions will delay some trains from four to six hours," Chris Becker said. "Construction of the OnTrac project will at least maintain delays at 26.1-minute average per daily train. After 2025 we expect to see a train every eight minutes 24 hours a day and seven days a week on the corridors."

“The disruption cost of shutting down the Alameda Corridor East represents a $414 million disruption value each day that it is shut down,” said LAEDC Director of Public Policy, Greg Freeman. “A 10-day disruption due to a terrorist attack would cost $4.1 billion, and 30-days duration would cost $12.4 billion.”

The study was commissioned and published in cooperation with the Orange North-American Trade Rail Access Corridor (OnTrac) Joint Powers Authority and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). The study was completed as part of the environmental review process for the Alameda Corridor East strategic rail system that goes through Placentia, California.

About OnTrac Authority

The Orange North-American Trade Rail Access Corridor (OnTrac) Authority is a joint powers authority (JPA) similar to the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA). OnTrac, headed by the City of Placentia, was formed in April of 2000 to build and sustain support for the Orangethorpe Avenue Grade Separation and Trade Corridor project - a five-mile long railroad-lowering project that will completely grade separate 11 rail crossings in the cities of Placentia and Anaheim. The City of Placentia has the only designated “Quite Zone” in the United States thanks to OnTrac.


OnTrac has retained LAEDC as an independent, non-profit agency to oversee and analyze the Trade Impact Study. As the premier business leadership organization, the LAEDC's mission is to attract, retain and grow businesses and jobs in the regions of Los Angeles County, as well as identifying trends and affecting positive change for the local economy.

Contact: George McQuade at MAYO Communications for images, interviews and studies mentioned in this news release. Other facts about OnTrac are posted at www. MayoCommunications. com

818.340.5300 or 818.618.9229]

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