Three Democratic senators on Wednesday requested that the Government Accountability Office review the safety of the freight and passenger rail systems after a coal train killed two people last week.
Sens. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Dick Durbin of Illinois said they also want a review of how the Federal Railroad Administration, state rail safety agencies and other stakeholders cooperate to promote safety. The senators wrote that multiple high-profile rail accidents in recent weeks, including the CSX Transportation crash outside of Baltimore on Aug. 21, spurred the request. Durbin also pointed to the July 5 derailment of a Union Pacific train in Northbrook, Ill., that killed two and caused a bridge to collapse.
“Our railways strengthen the economy by moving goods and people across the country, and we cannot overlook the critical role that safety plays in keeping our rail system moving,” Lautenberg said. The 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act “took important steps to address rail safety, but recent accidents have shown the need to continue examining safety and reducing the risk of accidents and fatalities.”