Calls grow for railroad safety measures

Rail workers, city leaders, and small business owners brought their fight for rail safety to Capitol Hill Thursday.

“No one should have to die at work,” Vince Verna, vice president and national legislative representative at the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen,” said.

Verna is calling for Congress to pass rail safety legislation.

He wants the law to require a two-person crew.

“A certified locomotive engineer and certified conductor are essential to rail safety,” he added.

Clarence Anthony, the president of League of Cities, is also calling for more regulations on the rail industry.

“A derailment can be a devastating blow to a community,” Anthony said.

Anthony says in many cases it takes communities years to recover from a derailment.

“It’s not only a community safety issue. We recognize that. It’s also an economic issue in those communities,” Anthony said.

Right now there are two rail safety bills in the house with support from both Democrats and Republicans but they are stalled.

“We see continued derailments and incidents every single day,” Rep. Donald Payne, (D-N.J.) said.

New Jersey Democratic congressman Donald Payne and Ohio Democratic congresswoman Emilia Sykes blame rail industry lobbyists for stopping the bill.

“While we see bigger profits for the railroads, meaning more dividends for shareholders”,” said Payne.

“There has been a complete lack and utter void of rail safety conversations here in the House, Sykes said.

Similar legislation in the Senate is also at a dead stop.

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