U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced legislation Jan. 28 to increase rail safety and better protect communities from the negative consequences of train derailments. This legislation builds on lessons learned from the derailments in Alma and in Galena, IL, by providing foam trailers and other emergency response equipment in strategic places along heavily trafficked rail lines.
“As I travel to communities around western and central Wisconsin a concern I continually hear is the negative impact increased rail traffic is having, and the danger derailments pose to communities,” said Kind. “Today, I introduced legislation to place emergency response equipment, at no cost to taxpayers, in strategic places along heavily traveled rail lines, like the one along the Mississippi River. By making life saving equipment more accessible we provide our communities with the certainty that their homes and businesses will be safe if a derailment happens.”
The Rail Safety Act directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate with the Department of Transportation to provide emergency response equipment in strategic places along rail routes over which a high volume of high-hazard trains operate, which should lower the response time of firefighters. This legislation authorizes FEMA to use fees collected from railroad carriers to purchase the equipment.