Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) is sponsoring a bill to leverage big data as a way of enhancing accountability, transparency and safety on the nation’s rail system
Gottheimer’s legislation, co-sponsored by a Republican congressman from Indiana, follows three fatal crashes involving Amtrak trains in the last two months.
“In New Jersey, our rails and tunnels are literally crumbling. Bergen County is the worst in the northeast for railway crossing crashes. With fatal Amtrak and NJ Transit crashes in Hoboken, South Carolina, and West Virginia, we can’t afford to sit idly by. When it comes to rail safety, Congress has sat on the rails, watching the runaway trains approach at record speeds. It’s time we got moving,” said Gottheimer.
The FRA Safety Data Improvement Act codifies safety accountability requirements to prevent shifting in standards from one administration to the next. It requires a plan and the implementation of recommendations found in a report from the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General. The bipartisan legislation improves and standardizes reporting and training around railway accidents on railroads like Amtrak and NJ Transit, including those that would have benefited from Positive Train Control (PTC) b To ensure compliance, the Act also requires the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to update the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee annually on its progress.