Sinner introduces legislation promoting rail safety

Sinner introduces legislation promoting rail safety

Bill would create Rail Safety Committee, provide funding for safety improvements

(BISMARCK, N.D.) – During a press conference Thursday, Senator George Sinner, D-Fargo, announced the introduction legislation addressing rail safety. The bill, SB 2293 creates a 5-member Rail Safety Committee and reallocates the special fuels excise tax paid by railroads on diesel fuel into a rail safety fund controlled by the Public Service Commission.

Since 2006, there have been 948 total accidents/incidents involving rails or rail cars in the state of North Dakota, including 170 derailments and 39 fatalities, according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis. That same report shows rails accidents/incidents have increased by 16 percent between 2006 and 2014.

Sinner cited these numbers as evidence that more can and should be done when it comes to the safety and security of North Dakota families.

Sinner asked, “Who’s listening to the public? Who is taking the time to hear their concerns? Over the next several years the amount of cargo that will be carried on our state’s rail systems is only going to increase. This bill will ensure North Dakotans that conduit to make sure their concerns are heard.”

The committee will be made up of three members appointed by the Public Service Commission and two members appointed by the Governor. They will hold four public meetings a year and have the following duties:

  • Reviewing rail accidents/incidents that have occurred in North Dakota since 2004.
  • Inventorying all unprotected rail crossings in North Dakota that intersect with school bus routes.
  • Prioritizing crossings based on the above reviews.
  • Recommending expenditures for rail safety improvements, training for emergency responders and school bus drivers, or otherwise enhance or maintain rail safety and accident response in the state.

The bill also reallocates funds for the explicit purpose of improving rail safety, providing approximately $6 million per biennium. Sinner was joined by Assistant Minority Leader Representative Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks. Mock discussed a complementary bill going through the legislative process, HB 1357, which requires a two-person crew to man all freight cars and to provide a penalty.

“Between these two bills, we’re aiming to do more to ensure safety on our railways,” Mock said. “We look forward to continued public input on an issue that has been at the forefront due to several unfortunate incidents.”

# # #

Click here to read Senate Bill (SB) 2293

The post Sinner introduces legislation promoting rail safety appeared first on North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party.

From:: Dem-NPL News

This post was written by

Leave a Reply