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Congress needs to spend about $600 million on tightening security in the Great Lakes region to prevent potential terrorists infiltrating from Canada across poorly patrolled waters, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Monday.

"We have to tighten up every weak pressure point in our homeland security to make sure that we're all safe. . . . Security across these Great Lakes is totally neglected," the New York Democrat said during a visit to a Coast Guard station on the Lake Ontario shore.

Citing U.S. Customs Service data, Schumer said only 10 percent of the 18,000 boats crossing Lake Ontario in 2001 reported their arrival as required.

The USA Patriot Act passed by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks authorized a tripling of "northern border personnel," but so far funding hasn't been approved.

Study suggests fare cuts
for low-income transit users

NEW YORK (AP) -- The city should lower bus and subway fares and provide new MetroCard fare options for low-income riders, a new study recommended Monday.

The study, sponsored by the transit advocacy group, Straphangers Campaign, recommends reducing the $1.50 base fare by 10 cents and offering to replace lost or stolen 30-day MetroCards.

The base fare could be reduced to $1.40 if the current 10 percent bonus on MetroCard purchases of at least $15 is eliminated, the study said.

The study, based on a random telephone survey of 805 New York City residents in September, also recommends providing a new five-day unlimited ride pass that could be used on nonconsecutive days and a 14-day unlimited ride pass.

Currently, riders can purchase a one-day unlimited ride MetroCard for $4, a seven-day card for $17 and a 30-day card for $63.

State study absolves DOT
in deadly bridge collapse

ALBANY (AP) -- The cause of a deadly bridge collapse last month remains unknown, but the state Department of Transportation has been vindicated of any blame.

A four-page report by the state Labor Department concluded that "no violations were found pertaining to the bridge collapse" that left one construction worker dead and nine other people injured. The Labor Department said the case was closed as far as its investigation was concerned.

The Labor Department was the first of several investigating agencies to release a report on the Oct. 10 accident in Marcy, which occurred as workers poured concrete onto its steel deck. The 170-foot long bridge twisted and fell 20 feet to the ground.

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