Proposal stresses increased railroad safety, transparency, & accountability
Saint Paul, MINN. - A bill authored by State Representative Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis) that updates Minnesota’s 2014 Oil Transportation Safety legislation passed the House Transportation Policy & Finance Committee on a voice vote Wednesday evening before a critical policy deadline in the House on Friday. The bill adds new rail inspectors and ensures that emergency responders have the information they need to keep communities safe.
“When our emergency responders come to the scene of an accident, they need to know what they’re dealing with,” said Rep. Hornstein. “This legislation will ensure that railroads coordinate and assist emergency managers and first responders, by getting them the information they need to be effective.”
The committee heard from emergency managers, fire fighters and citizens impacted by oil and hazardous materials traveling on the state’s 4,000 miles of rail. The legislation (HF 3698/SF3352) passed its first test last Friday in a hearing before the MN Senate Transportation Committee [video link] where Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL – Owatonna) has authored the bill.
The bill increases the number of state track inspectors and requires railroads to notify MnDOT when hazardous materials, including oil, ethanol and other cargo are being carried by rail through Minnesota communities.
“This bill ensures that emergency managers have the information they need to do their jobs safely,” said Rep. Hornstein. “This helps us move toward our goal of providing transparency and preventing accidents.”