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Schumer Pushes To Pass Four-Point Railroad Safety Plan

Sen. Charles Schumer. Photo Credit: File
Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) were at Penn Station in New York City on Friday in an effort to push for the passage of a four-point railroad safety legislation package.

The legislation package includes four measures aimed at preventing fatal accidents like the Amtrak derailment that occurred on Tuesday night.

  • The Positive Train Control Safety Act would require the rail industry to move to install Positive Train Control, a life-saving technology used to slow down trains in order to help prevent crashes and collisions.
  • The Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act would allocate resources towards safety upgrades at rail crossings, like new lights and signals. The act would also bolster funding to install lights and signals at crossings, build bridges and tunnels to separate roadways from rail track and help better safeguard pedestrians and drivers from future collisions.
  • The Rail Safety Improvement Act would mandate inward and outward facing cameras, increased track inspection, require greater use of modern inspection technology and stepped up enforcement of speed restrictions, and fines up to $1 million for safety violations on all railroads.
  • The legislation also calls on congress to increase infrastructure spending, specifically Amtrak spending and Highway funding, through the Highway Trust Fund and the Amtrak reauthorization and appropriation process.

“The deadly Amtrak derailment, along with the dramatic uptick in rail deaths, have exposed that Congress must do more to improve rail safety across the board," Schumer said in a statement. "For far too long, Amtrak has been tremendously undercapitalized to the point that they now have a $21B State-of-Good-Repair Backlog. So, simply put, no matter how hard Amtrak works to prioritize safety, because of a lack of funding, some projects and improvements are delayed."

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