FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2008
SCHUMER ANNOUNCES FINAL CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF RAILROAD SAFETY BILL - COULD MEAN MILLIONS FOR RAIL TRACK IMPROVEMENTS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
Aging Systems in Need of Critical Updates Such As Investing in New Technologies to Ensure Safety at Railroad Crossings and Prevent Derailments
Schumer Provision in Rail Safety Bill Creates Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program Setting Aside $5 Million Annually for Railroad Improvements to CSX Freight and Other Rail Tracks
Bill Includes Much-Needed Amtrak Funds
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced final Congressional approval of a rail safety bill that will set aside $5 million for railroad improvements to CSX and other railways across the state that will help ensure passenger and freight safety. The Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007 includes Schumer’s provision to create a grant program to help defray costs for rail infrastructure improvements across
The railroad safety infrastructure improvement grants, which would have a $5 million annual budget through 2013, would be used for safety improvements to infrastructure, including the purchase or improvement of new cars and facilities, such as tracks, stations, bridges and tunnels. The bill will direct the Secretary of Transportation to develop a long-term strategy for improving rail safety, including an annual plan and schedule for reducing the number and rates of accidents, injuries, and fatalities involving railroads.
The Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007, which passed the Senate late last night and will now proceed to the president’s desk for his signature, included Schumer’s railroad safety infrastructure improvement grants program, which will set aside $5 million annually through 2013, for safety improvements to railroad infrastructure across the nation. The program, administered by the Department of Transportation, would provide grants for the acquisition, improvement, or rehabilitation of intermodal or rail equipment or facilities, including track, bridges, tunnels, yards, buildings, passenger stations, facilities, and maintenance and repair shops. Grants will be made directly to eligible passenger and freight railroad carriers, and state and local governments.
This new source of funding for infrastructure follows CSX's move earlier this year to invest $12.4 million for its extensive freight track network across Upstate New York, which Senator Schumer pushed for years. A number of CSX derailments in the region spurred Senator Schumer to push for the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007. Amtrak’s Empire Service from
Today, Senator Schumer announced passage of the bill which includes his provision to provide grants that will help ensure passenger and freight safety.
To determine grant recipients, the Secretary of Transportation will permitted to consider the age and condition of the rail infrastructure of the applicant, the railroad’s safety record, the volume of hazardous materials transported by the railroad, the operation of passenger trains over the railroad, and whether the railroad has submitted a railroad safety risk reduction program.
The bill also authorizes funds for Amtrak capital and operating expenses, repayment of Amtrak’s long-term debt and capital leases, and the Federal Railroad Administration. Previous Amtrak authorization expired in 2002. The Amtrak provision puts special focus on the Northeast Corridor stretch of rail line which runs from