Media Kit » Try RailPrime™ Today! »
Progressive Railroading
Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation


Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House Science Committee seeks info on federal research of hazmat-by-rail safety


House Science, Space and Technology Committee members have asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for details on the research, development and technology (RD&T) efforts underway to improve the transportation of hazardous materials by rail in the aftermath of the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the committee members say they want to know more about USDOT's various research programs aimed at hazmat moved by rail. They ask Buttigieg to brief them and respond in writing to their questions by June 30.

"When incidents like the one in East Palestine occur, it requires careful consideration of how current practices, procedures and efforts are improving effective operability of our transportation systems," the committee members wrote.

Specifically, the lawmakers want information on recent funding for continuing RD&T activities, the USDOT's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I) and the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado.

"The committee seeks to ensure that ARPA-I is truly investing in practical solutions," the members wrote. "We want to ensure that the tax dollars of the American people are funding solid efforts that will provide real results and mitigate accidents like the recent derailment."

The letter also states: “[T]he committee is interested in the RD&T work being conducted at TTC, specifically as it relates to tank car development, wayside detection research and implementation of automated track inspection technology.”

The lawmakers also mention the USDOT's decision in 2021 to award a five-year contract for TTC's operation to ENSCO Inc. For many years, the center had been operated by the Transportation Technology Center Inc., a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads. The TTCI has since changed its name to MxV Rail.

At the time, USDOT officials said the new contract would support a new department goal that the center's activities support all modes of transportation, not just rail.

"The committee seeks to better understand how the operations transition from one contractor to the other has progressed, the quality of the research being conducted and the efforts being taken in response to the recent Ohio derailment, as well as other successful projects being conducted by ENSCO at TTC."

To read the committee's entire letter, click here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/1/2023