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Maloney Grills Executives on Potential Terrorist Threats to Rail Lines

Feb 3, 2015
Press Release
Maloney: DOT Needs to Stop Dragging Its Feet

Washington – During a hearing on the increased role of energy traveling by pipeline and railroads, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) questioned executives on the key vulnerability of rail lines to terrorist threats.

“Our rail lines are vulnerable to terrorist threats, and it only takes one train to cause catastrophic destruction for an entire community and way of life. With billions of gallons of highly explosive crude oil barreling through the Hudson Valley, we must address potential security and safety gaps to protect our people,” said Maloney.

In addition, Maloney urged the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize these safety regulations in the next 30 days. Despite a congressionally imposed mandate of finalizing safety standards for transporting oil by rail by January 2015, the Department of Transportation announced it won’t issue the final rule until at least May 2015. The average review time for draft rules submitted to the Office of Management and Budget is 53 days. Rep. Maloney has continually pushed for the immediate release and implementation of these regulations that would begin phasing out the use of older, structurally insufficient and dangerous DOT-111 tank cars, issue new standards for tanker cars carrying highly hazardous materials, reduce operating speeds, and require notification for first responders.

“The threat is too great to continue delaying basic safety standards that are critical to protect communities and our environment from terrorist threats or accidental derailments,” said Maloney.  

As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Maloney has been a leader in Congress on financing the implementation of positive train control (PTC). The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill authorizes a portion of Rep. Maloney’s Rail Safety Enforcement Act, which requires the Federal Railroad Administration to provide a progress report on the status of implementing positive train control on freight and passenger rail lines.  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 have helped commuter rail lines like Metro-North fund and implement positive train control (PTC) systems.