DOT pledges new actions on hazardous trains, asks Congress and industry to also take steps
DOT also highlighted a rule within the works to require a minimal prepare crew of two individuals, which industry has opposed, and pledged to spend assets from the 2021 infrastructure regulation that may be spent on rail security enhancements.
DOT also desires railroads to give state authorities a heads-up when hazardous gasoline tank vehicles might be passing by way of. DOT stated it’s also working on requiring this by way of regulation, “however railroads shouldn’t wait.”
The division is asking the railroads — together with however not restricted to Norfolk Southern — to do the next:
— Proactively let state emergency response groups know when they’re transporting tank vehicles with hazardous gases by way of their states;
— Be a part of FRA’s whistleblower safety program, which many smaller railroads and passenger railroads take part in however which the main freights don’t;
— Deploy automated monitor inspection know-how with out asking to do away with human inspectors;
— Transfer up the phase-in of safer, extra sturdy tank vehicles that railroads had lobbied to delay till 2029, at present slated for 2025; and
— Present staff paid sick go away, the unfinished enterprise of the decision of the strike menace final yr.
What DOT desires from Congress: DOT referred to as on Congress to enhance most fines for rail security violations from the present $225,455 cap, which the company referred to as “a rounding error” for worthwhile firms.
In a letter Sunday to Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw, Pete Buttigieg famous the railroad’s “exceptionally worthwhile enterprise,” operating a 38 % working margin and issuing $18 billion in inventory buybacks and dividends during the last 5 years — “reportedly twice as a lot as the quantity Norfolk Southern invested in its railways and operations.”