Key Rail Safety Provisions Head to President’s Desk
Washington – After a year of pushing for common-sense rail safety legislation, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) commended the House and Senate passage of critical passenger and freight rail safety provisions that will head to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. As part of two bills that passed the House and Senate, the Department of Transportation will be required to move up the deadline to release comprehensive rail safety regulations to the first of the year as well as provide a progress report on implementation of positive train control systems. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (DHS I&A) will now conduct an intelligence assessment of the security of communities surrounding oil refineries and railways transporting crude oil.
“We must do everything we can to keep our Hudson Valley neighbors safe, especially investing in commonsense safety measures that will save lives and protect our environment,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill includes a provision requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to release comprehensive rules improving crude oil transport safety by a new January 2015 deadline, previously due in March. Rep. Maloney has continually pushed for the immediate release of these regulations that begin phasing out the use of older DOT-111 tank cars, issue new standards for tanker cars carrying highly hazardous materials, reduce operating speeds, and require notification for first responders. Additionally, Rep. Maloney supported the Intelligence Authorization Act will help local, state and federal officials better assess the types of threats to our rail infrastructure transporting highly volatile crude oil so that such threats can be mitigated.
“Billions of gallons of crude oil barreling through the Hudson Valley is an accident waiting to happen. We’ve known for far too long that these tanker cars are highly dangerous and we must act now to immediately phase out these dangerous DOT-111 cars – the safety of our neighbors, environment and communities is far too important,” said Rep. Maloney.
The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill also authorizes a portion of Rep. Maloney’s Rail Safety Enforcement Act, which was previously passed in June 2014. This legislation requires the Federal Railroad Administration to provide a progress report on the status of implementing positive train control (PTC) on freight and passenger rail lines.
“Implementing positive train control is the single most important thing we can do to prevent accidents and save lives on our rails. One year after the Metro-North derailment took the lives of my friends and neighbors, this is a critical investment in our transportation systems that prioritizes the safety of thousands of folks who ride Metro-North every day,” concluded Rep. Maloney.
As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Maloney has been a leader in Congress on helping finance positive train control. In September, his bipartisan legislation passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as part of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act (PRRIA) that would help commuter rail lines like Metro-North fund and implement positive train control (PTC) systems.