Hoeven Calls on Transportation Sec. Foxx to Keep Moving Forward on Comprehensive Plan to Improve Rail Safety

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today again pressed federal regulators to continue moving forward on a comprehensive plan to enhance safety measures for transporting petroleum products by rail. Testifying at a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development were Department of Transportation (DoT) Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairwoman Deborah Hersman. Hoeven serves on the Appropriations Committee.

Hoeven said a comprehensive approach means taking specific steps:

  • To prevent derailments in the first place, including measures like positive train control technology, speed reduction and more inspectors.
  • To mitigate the risk of fire or explosion, such as new standards for tanker cars and
  • To help communities develop an effective response strategy if an accident should occur.

The senator asked Foxx to work with all stakeholders to keep the process moving. “A comprehensive approach means everyone has a role – the railroads, the regulators and the shippers, and we have to address preventing, mitigating and responding to accidents,” Hoeven said. “To get that done, we have got to work together and keep the process moving.”

Hoeven asked Foxx if he has submitted a plan to the Appropriations Committee and told him that as a member, the senator will work with the secretary, the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to make sure the agencies have the inspectors and resources they need to improve rail transportation safety.

The Senator also thanked Foxx for accepting his invitation to visit North Dakota later this month and meet with officials in Casselton, the site of a derailment in late December. During the past few years, Hoeven has been working closely with the various federal, state and local officials responsible for rail safety, including the FRA, DoT, PHMSA and the NTSB, to push for the speedy and effective implementation of long-overdue policies needed to prevent rail accidents.