Sen. Hutchison Praises Congressional Passage of Rail Safety Bill

Measure Includes Rail Safety Grants and Infrastructure Improvements

October 1, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today praised Congressional approval of legislation that will strengthen railroad infrastructure across the nation and improve rail safety.  The legislation, H.R. 2095 - the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act, contains language from the Passenger Rail Improvement Act and the Railroad Safety Enhancement Act, both of which passed the full Senate earlier this Congress.  The bill was approved by the House of Representatives last week and now proceeds to the President where it is expected to be signed into law.

“This bill will make great strides in improving the safety and efficiency of our nation’s rail transportation system,” said Senator Hutchison.  “The rail safety component of this legislation will reduce driver fatigue by ensuring that train employees are not overworked and receive adequate rest between shifts. It also authorizes federal rail safety programs that have been operating without authorizations for almost a decade.”

H.R. 2095, the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act:

  • requires the Department of Transportation to develop a plan for implementation of Positive Train Control Systems on trains by the end of 2015;
  • makes crucial reforms to Amtrak’s operation and business practices to ensure the long-term viability of the system;
  • strengthens the nation’s passenger rail system, and make sure that it remains a truly national system, including the Northeast Corridor and both the Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited lines;
  • fosters the development of high-speed rail in this country by  requiring the Secretary of Transportation to review proposals for high-speed rail service on any of the nation’s eleven designated high-speed rail corridors; and
  • authorizes a total of $13 billion through 2013 for grants for Amtrak, state intercity passenger rail grants and high speed rail corridor grants. 

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