In the latest action to improve safety in communities across the country, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is calling on major freight railroads to review and update their placement of rail cars and locomotives. The configuration of railcars and how cargo gets loaded can be critical to the risk of derailment.
This is the sixth safety advisory the Department has issued since the February 3 Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio – all part of the Department’s longstanding, ongoing work to hold railroad companies accountable to their workers and to communities across the country.
Additionally, the President’s FY 2024 Budget calls for an investment of more than $1 billion to expand the Department of Transportation’s core rail safety efforts and improve critical infrastructure:
- $273.5 million to support the agency’s railroad safety personnel, expand critical inspection and audit capabilities, enhance data analysis to better identify the root causes of railroad safety incidents, and increase stakeholder outreach and partnerships to address and eliminate threats to public safety.
- $760 million for both the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program and Railroad Crossing Elimination program to provide additional dedicated grant funding to improve nearly all facets of railroad safety, including upgrading track, rolling stock, and signal systems; supporting railroad employee safety training programs; and preventing railroad trespassing and highway-rail grade crossing collisions.
- $59 million for a cross-cutting Research & Development program to advance new technologies and practices to improve railroad safety.
The Transportation Department notes that the President’s FY 2024 budget is notably different from the budget proposal from the House Freedom Caucus, which the Department says would cut rail safety funding, decrease rail safety inspections, and make U.S. railways drastically less safe both for workers and communities across the country.