Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Apparently there's this new project called Highway Watch, according to the Bucks County Courier Times:

Truckers, toll takers, road crews and bus drivers are being recruited for homeland security.

They'll be trained as part of Highway Watch to keep their eyes open for anything from missing trailer loads to suspicious activity to people taking photos of strategic points of infrastructure.

The goal in Pennsylvania is to have 14,000 highway professionals watching for suspicious activity starting in the spring, according to the Transportation Security Administration, American Trucking Association and Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.

Word of the program, though, hasn't reached many area folks who work the roads. But area Teamsters union leaders love the idea.

Teamsters used to be the "knights of the road,'' so it makes sense they would be involved in the program, Local 830 Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Grace said from his Northeast Philadelphia office.

Although the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission - which runs the Tacony-Palmyra, Burlington-Bristol, and US 1 Freeway toll bridges in this area - is involved with the project, the Courier Times almost went out of its way to note one glaring omission from those agencies involved:

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said he's heard about the program, but the public transit company hasn't been invited to join in. SEPTA, he said, already has safety programs in place.

Of course it does. The most notable safety program at apparently is "Cover Your Ass When Getting Sued" (see Silverliner V bid fiasco).

"Never before have our employees been as aware as they are [since Sept. 11, 2001]," Maloney said. "It's not even something we have to remind them of; it's a cultural change.

Apparently, the Minister of Mis-Information forgot the embarassing Powelton Yard fiasco, in which a suspicious object - later discovered to be harmless - was not turned over to federal agents a full week after being discovered.

"We are continually on the alert, continually training, continually learning new tactics and continually in communication with our employees and our customers,'' he added.

Um, right. This is a transit agency with a poor track record of notifiying customers about service delays - before and after 9/11.

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