Railway transport safety is failing. These lawmakers have a plan to help
With two headline-grabbing train derailments in the span of about a month, two legislators are taking action to address concerns railway workers have been voicing for years.
Who are they? Elected officials Michele Grim of Ohio (D) and Mike Jacobson of Nebraska (R) are working on passing legislation surrounding rail safety in their respective states, with the hopes it will become federal law as well.
What's the big deal?
For more on this story, listen to the lawmakers discuss their plans by tapping the play button on the audio at the top of this page.
What are people saying?
Senator Jacobson on regulation:
This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of doing the right thing. I've been a banker for 43 years. I can tell you as a banker, I don't like regulation.
I don't know what the industry would look like without regulation. So a lot of people say, 'Mike, you're a Republican. Why are you wanting to impose a mandate on private business?' And my answer to that is that I think many of these businesses — in this case, the railroads — would probably welcome universal rules that everyone would have to abide by, that would allow them to be on a level playing field and provide public safety. All we've heard about from all the railroad companies after this is safety is their top priority. My response to that is, then prove it to me.
Representative Grim on what changes she's seeking to mandate:
We've been hearing from rail workers for decades that we need a two-person crew minimum because they're afraid that the rail industry is going to try and roll back some of the safety measures there.
The other one is making sure that railways have wayside defect detectors so that they can be alerted right away when there is an issue. This is the first legislation in the country that would require these wayside defect detectors.
So, what now?
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