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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Boston becomes third major city to introduce haz-mat ban legislation


Add Boston to the growing list of cities that are passing or proposing legislation that bans rail moves of hazardous materials in downtown areas.

The Boston city council recently introduced a bill that would ban “ultra-hazardous” rail cargoes within 2.5 miles of the city’s Copley Square unless a railroad obtains a Boston Fire Department permit.

“In our day and age, when we're trying to make the city safe from terrorist activity, I think homeland security on our rail system has to be of paramount concern,” said Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy in a prepared statement.

Haz-mat bans — which are opposed by the rail industry, Surface Transportation Board, and U.S. departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Transportation — already have been passed in Washington D.C., and proposed in Cleveland. The justice department and rail industry is challenging the D.C. ban, which is tied up in a federal district court. In addition, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta and the state of California, among others, are considering haz-mat bans.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/26/2005