ASLRRA: Senate Commerce Committee Marks Up Railway Safety Act

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee took up the Railway Safety Act (S.576), the Brown-Vance bill. The ASLRRA Government Affairs team has been working closely with both sides of the aisle to ensure that impacts on small short line railroads would be understood and considered.

Although significant progress was made in early discussions, there remain elements of the bill that are concerning specifically for short lines and for the freight industry as additional proposed regulations could impact the fluidity of the supply chain, and the costs of operations, which would be passed along in costs to shippers, with further impacts to our industry, and the public, due to modal shift.

ASLRRA issued the following statement following the conclusion of the hearing:

“ASLRRA and its members have worked closely with various stakeholders and members of the Commerce Committee on both sides of the aisle on S.576 as it was modified. The bill as approved in Committee today represents meaningful progress towards recognizing the unique needs of smaller freight railroads across the country and mitigates many of the unintended consequences that we were concerned about,” said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker.

“However, due to the interconnected nature of the U.S. freight rail system, short lines are still apprehensive that this broad set of proposed new regulations would have repercussions throughout the supply chain, may ensnare smaller railroads directly regardless of the legislation’s intent, and that funding proposals in the legislation may diminish opportunities for short line safety improvements.”

“We pledge to continue working diligently and in good faith with members of Congress, as they have with us, to address all remaining concerns as the bill moves forward.”