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Blumenthal, Schumer Launch Major Campaign to Get Congress to Pass their Four Point Rail Safety Plan in 2015; Dramatic Uptick in Rail Deaths This Year & This Week’s Tragic Derailment Gives Optimism That Congress Can Finally Act; Railroads Must Create Culture of Safety

Senators Have Long Supported & Pushed for Positive Train Control Implementation, Rail Grade Crossing Reforms & Other Upgrades to Existing Rail —Congress Should Now Focus & Pass All These Efforts

Schumer, Blumenthal—Cosponsors of Bill—Will Keep Pressure on to Implement PTC ASAP; Push Congress to Act & Avoid Further Delays in Implementation

With Amtrak Facing a $21 Billion State-of-Good-Repair Backlog, Senators Say We Can’t Continue to Go Down the Same Road of Disrepair—Now is the Time to Make Rail Safety a Top Priority 

This morning, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Charles E. Schumer laid out a four point plan for rail safety this morning. Standing at New York’s Penn Station, the senators launched a major push to get Congress to finally prioritize rail safety in 2015. Their campaign comes in the wake of a tragic Amtrak derailment on Tuesday night that killed at least eight passengers and injured over 200; the train was traveling over 100 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour curve.  Schumer and Blumenthal pointed out this is unfortunately the latest derailment in a series of deadly rail tragedies and underscores the urgent need for investment in rail safety technology and modernized infrastructure.

Senators Schumer and Blumenthal have long been outspoken advocates for rail safety and life-saving rail technology and urged Congress to immediately take four steps:

  1. Pass once-and-for-all the Positive Train Control Safety Act, which would require the rail industry to move swiftly to install Positive Train Control, a life-saving technology used to slow down trains in order to help prevent crashes and collisions.
  2. Pass the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act, which would allocate resources towards safety upgrades at rail crossings, like new lights and signals.
  3. Completely overhaul rail safety laws and protocols to enhance and enforce safety on rail lines. Specifically, as part of their effort, Schumer and Blumenthal authored the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which mandates inward and outward facing cameras, increased track inspection, require greater use of modern inspection technology and stepped up enforcement of speed restrictions, and fines up to $1 million for safety violations on all railroads, including Amtrak and LIRR.
  4. Increase infrastructure spending, specifically Amtrak spending and Highway funding, through the Highway Trust Fund.