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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senators propose fee for use of older tank cars


Editor's note: This morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Canada's Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt held a joint press conference to announce standards for new tank cars and unveil the USDOT's final safety rule. posted the story here.

Seven U.S. senators yesterday introduced legislation that they say would speed up the phasing out of older tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail.

The Hazardous Materials Rail Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 1175) calls for a $175 per shipment fee on older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, that are used to ship crude and other hazardous materials. The bill also would offer a tax credit to companies that upgrade the newer cars to the highest required safety standard, according to a press release issued by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Revenue raised by the fee would establish a dedicated fund for the cleanup costs of oil train accidents, advanced training for first responders and grant money for states and cities to reroute rail tracks that carry large volumes of hazardous materials away from highly populated areas.

Joining Wyden in introducing the bill were Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

"It's time for the Department of Transportation to push faster and more aggressively to make oil-by-rail transportation safer," said Wyden. "This legislation takes a market-based approach to get unsafe cars off the tracks and safer cars on the tracks more quickly."

Added Schumer: "We need an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to phasing out these dangerous and old tank cars."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/1/2015