Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Rail Safety Reforms Included in Final Bipartisan Transportation Legislation

Baldwin provisions improve safety, transparency, and better communication between the railroads and local communities

By - Dec 1st, 2015 03:47 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has announced that House and Senate negotiators have included several rail safety reforms she has championed in a long-term, bipartisan federal transportation compromise unveiled today, ahead of Friday’s deadline.

“I have been sounding the alarm for two years on the need to put in place strong rail safety reforms,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation includes reforms I have been fighting for to improve safety, transparency, and better communication between the railroads and local first responders and communities, so I am proud that Congress is taking action.”

Last month, two trains carrying hazardous materials derailed in Wisconsin and Senator Baldwin called on the transportation conference committee to include her long-time efforts in their final product.

“Wisconsin first responders should be applauded for their reaction to these derailments but railroad companies need to do more. We need to strengthen communication between railroads and local communities before an accident occurs and railroads must let first responders know what is moving through their community beforehand,” Senator Baldwin said. “We also need to make railroads share infrastructure inspection reports with local elected officials. This legislation will make that happen.”

The bipartisan, five-year transportation funding extension legislation announced today includes several provisions championed by Senator Baldwin, aimed at increasing safety and transparency along Wisconsin’s oil train routes:

Transparency: Currently, railroads do not have to provide bridge inspection reports to local officials—despite the obligation of local officials to protect their citizens and ensure the soundness of local infrastructure. Senator Baldwin’s provision would require a railroad to provide local officials a public version of the most recent bridge inspection report.

Real-Time Reporting: Currently, information about hazardous materials being carried through Wisconsin communities are only available to first responders after an incident has occurred. Senator Baldwin’s provision addresses concerns raised by the first responder community who would like real-time access to information about hazmat trains entering their jurisdictions in order to better prepare. Senator Baldwin’s reform requires U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fusion Centers to provide real-time information to state and local first responders before a hazmat train arrives in their jurisdiction.

In addition, the bipartisan compromise includes provisions modeled after Senator Baldwin’s Crude-By-Rail Safety Act, which she introduced in March 2015.

Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans: The bipartisan legislation requires DOT to implement rules to require railroads to improve their plans for responding to a worst-case oil discharge.

Rail Carrier Liability Study: The bipartisan bill requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to initiate a study on the appropriate levels of insurance for railroads carrying hazardous materials.

For more on Senator Baldwin’s advocacy for Wisconsin rail safety click here.

Read the full text of the bipartisan legislation here and a summary here.

Press Releases by Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Releases Statement on Nomination of Wealthy Insider with Deep Roots on Wall Street for Treasury Secretary

“Wisconsin families struggling to get ahead do not want foxes guarding the hen house.”

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Bipartisan Digital Coast Act Unanimously Passes the Senate

Legislation aids Great Lakes communities by delivering next generation coastal data

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Votes for Bipartisan Reform to Increase Access to High Quality Health Care in Rural Wisconsin

Rural communities in Wisconsin and across the country face many challenges in accessing high-quality health care.

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Jeanne Shaheen, Ed Markey, and Joe Donnelly Call for Investments to Fight Opioid Epidemic in 21st Century Cures Act

In the letter to Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid, the Senators stressed the need to provide immediate funding to address the opioid epidemic.

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Mayor Tom Barrett Announces $6 Million for Workforce Development to Employ Milwaukee

The funds will be used to train 1,430 individuals, and coordinate regional planning to attract and retain businesses.

Tammy Baldwin
See More Releases

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *