Congressman Sires Applauds the House of Representatives for Passing His Rail Oversight Transparency Legislation
(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1093, a bill to improve rail oversight transparency, introduced by Congressman Sires (D-NJ). This bill requires the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), within 10 days of initiating a comprehensive safety assessment on a commuter or intercity passenger rail system, to notify congressional rail oversight committees and Members of Congress representing the state in which the assessment is conducted.
“My bill brings transparency to the federal government’s role in keeping our nation’s railroad networks safe,” said Congressman Sires. “As a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I have a responsibility to ensure that Congress is living up to its role of preventing and mitigating rail accidents around the country.”
In the wake of the tragic New Jersey Transit accident in Hoboken, New Jersey that left a young mother dead and injured 110 passengers and crewmembers, the FRA revealed that it had been conducting a comprehensive safety assessment on NJ Transit for months. As it turns out, NJ Transit had violated more safety regulations and paid more in fines for these violations than any other commuter railroad in the country over the previous five years.
“It was bad enough that NJ Transit’s systems had gotten to this point. That the FRA had been undertaking a lengthy safety assessment on the system for months and had not informed my office was unconscionable. I should not have learned about this only after a fatal accident occurred,” stated Congressman Sires. “This legislation will help address this issue so Congress can step in if any other rail system falls short in its safety responsibilities. It is my hope that commuter and intercity passenger rail agencies, Members of Congress, and the FRA can work together to make these systems safer.”