(LibertySociety.com) – A bipartisan effort has been brought forward to increase safety and accountability within the railway industry. The Railway Safety Act of 2023 has already garnered support from SMART-TD, the largest rail union in the United States, with the President of the union calling on swift approval from Congress. The new bill is co-sponsored by Senators from both sides of the aisle, including Sens. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, Josh Hawley, R-MO, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., John Fetterman, D-PA., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bob Casey, D-PA.
Senator Vance is attempting to convince fellow Republican Senators that this bill is not heavy-handed on regulations, but that it should be passed expeditiously to prevent future railway incidents, authoring a memo to colleagues to ease any concerns. Despite this effort, some Republicans are already resistant to taking action, citing the incomplete report from the National Transportation Safety Board after the devastating derailment of a train containing hazardous materials in East Palestine, Ohio. According to The Hill, Senator John Thune, R-SD, voiced his reluctance to pass the bill, expressing interest in looking at the proposal but adding that any quick response involving more regulations needs to be “thoughtful and targeted.”
Breitbart news highlights the features of the new bill, which includes designating trains carrying hazardous materials to have the same regulations as highly flammable trains, timely Department of Transportation inspections and audits, and bearing defect detectors to be implemented every ten miles. It also requires Class I freight railroads to have two crew members while raising monetary penalties for regulation violations and providing money for training of first responders.
Senator Vance has wasted no time responding to lawmakers who have expressed doubts about passing the legislation, including Representative Troy Nehls, R-TX, who oversees the rail panel of the House Transportation committee. Rep. Nehls prefers to wait on the report from NTSB, which Senator Vance preemptively went into a lengthy explanation in his memo as to why waiting would be irresponsible and pointless. Senator Vance also said in a statement that “You don’t have to wait on NTSB” to realize that first responders should be aware of what’s on the trains.
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