DC City Council: Pass the Rail Safety and Security Act

As District residents and workers, we've got a problem. The District of Columbia is the only state in the Mid-Atlantic region without a state rail safety office, despite being a major railroad hub since 1835. Please take a moment now to urge the DC City Council to pass the “Rail Safety and Security Act of 2016” next Tuesday, December 20.

CSX operates 31 daily freight trains right through the heart of our nation’s capital, transporting mixed freight and commodities - including hazardous materials. Back in May, Ward 5 residents in Northeast D.C. narrowly avoided a major disaster when five tanker cars leaked their contents as a result of a derailment (photo above), and freight rail traffic through the District of Columbia is projected to double after the completion of a new Virginia Avenue Tunnel by CSX.  In addition, every day the MARC and Virginia Rail Express transport over 50,000 commuters in the region, and Union Station is the second busiest Amtrak station in the country with 5,000,000 annual passengers.

We can’t afford to wait for disaster to strike! Please click at right to urge the DC City Council to pass the “Rail Safety and Security Act of 2016” next Tuesday, December 20.

Among other things, the legislation (Bill 21-03) would:

·         Establish a state rail safety office within the Department of Environment (DOEE) and expand oversight of hazardous material shipments by rail.

·         Create a 9-member Rail Advisory Board, and require at least two crew persons on every freight train operated in the District of Columbia.

·         Protect residents and enable the safe movement of freight trains through our neighborhoods.  

This critical legislation is set for a final vote next Tuesday, December 20. There are large interests working behind the scenes to maintain the status quo and keep the District of Columbia without a rail safety office, but you can make the difference by urging the D.C. City Council to support this critical legislation. Let them know that safety can't wait!

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