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Reps. Sires, Payne, Jr. Introduce Bill to Require Transparency in Railroad and Rail Transit Safety Audits

Feb 15, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced legislation that would allow Members of Congress, Senators, and their constituents to know when a railroad or rail transit agency is being investigated for safety violations by the Federal government.

The legislation would require the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator to notify Members of Congress and Senators if they conduct safety audits on railroads or rail transit agencies. Additionally, the legislation requires the Administrators to provide to Congress a report describing the results of the audit within 90 days of the audit’s completion.

“I am pleased to introduce this legislation that will ensure that people know when the railroads they rely on are under investigation for safety reasons,” said Rep. Sires (NJ-08). “It is imperative that Members of Congress and Senators can inform their constituents when a railroad or rail transit agency is violating safety regulations.”

In the wake of the New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, which killed a young mother and injured 110 passengers and crewmembers, it was made public that the FRA had been conducting a “deep audit” on NJ Transit.  Prompted by an increase in safety violations, the audit was unknown to the public, many of whom ride the trains every day for their commutes.

“We need to make sure that safety audits are transparent in order for Congress to provide effective oversight of rail transit agencies,” said Congressman Rep. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “I’m pleased to join Rep. Sires in introducing this legislation, and will continue to work with my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to improve the safety of this nation’s railroads.”