A little over two years after a tragic Amtrak accident across I-5 that took three lives in DuPont, State Representatives Mari Leavitt and Christine Kilduff are partnering with US Representative Denny Heck to push for rail safety improvements on Amtrak trains at the state and federal level. US Representative Heck introduced HR 6066, the Passenger Train Safety Act at the federal level on Tuesday, March 3.
The Passenger Train Safety Act ensures that every new passenger train route is equipped with a Positive Train Control (PCT) system which would have prevented the tragic accident in DuPont. It would also require the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to review its safety standards and protocols and to make upgrades where necessary.
Representatives Leavitt and Kilduff have introduced state level legislation to complement the Passenger Train Safety Act and make sure that every level of government is taking all the steps necessary to make rail travel safe.
“Ensuring that all new passenger routes have Positive Train Control guarantees that we will never face a tragedy like the one we faced two years ago,” said Rep. Leavitt. “That is why Rep. Kilduff and I have written to the chair of the United States House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and asked him to schedule HR 6066 for a hearing. Strengthening rail safety should be a priority at all levels of government.”
Rep. Leavitt introduced House Bill 2287 which mandates that the Joint Transportation Committee study the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations about the 2017 accident in DuPont, other states’ rail safety best practices, and Washington’s rail safety practices. The Joint Transportation Committee will then issue recommendations for improving rail safety as well as coordination between state agencies, local governments, and the federal government.
“Just as the federal government must act to ensure an accident like this never happens again, we owe it to the people of Washington to take a hard look in the mirror and ensure that we are doing everything in our power to have a safe rail system,” said Rep. Leavitt.
Rep. Kilduff introduced House Bill 2439 which would support the sharing of information between the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, which partners with the Federal Railroad Administration to conduct rail safety inspections, and other state agencies and local governments. It further enables state agencies and local governments to work hand in hand with the state and federal governments to keep passengers safe.
“Removing barriers to sharing critical rail safety inspection reports and information across government will protect the traveling public and reduce the risk of future derailments,” said Kilduff.