Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO, Edward R. Hamberger issued the following statements in response to the Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of rail legislation S. 1626: [Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act].
“The freight rail industry commends the Commerce Committee’s bipartisan leadership for building unanimous Committee support for a comprehensive package that addresses a number of key areas for our industry, including safety, passenger rail reauthorization and financing, and environmental permitting reform. The AAR looks forward to working with the Committee and the Senate as the bill moves forward,” said Hamberger.
“Safety is a core value of the nation’s freight railroads and we are encouraged Committee amendments improved upon the Department of Transportation’s tank car rule, in particular with respect to the lack of enhanced thermal protection and the unjustified ECP brake requirement,” said Hamberger. “The data-driven, science-based approach by the Commerce Committee ensures that attention is focused on those areas that truly advance transportation safety.”
On passenger rail reauthorization, Hamberger said, “The freight railroad industry has long supported funding for Amtrak at a level that allows adequate capital investment to maintain the system and to deliver passenger service.”
Hamberger also commended the Senate Commerce Committee on the permitting process: “The freight rail industry is very encouraged with provisions to streamline environmental and historic preservation review processes. Railroads have long encountered duplicative and burdensome permitting delays unrelated to environmental quality that have negatively impacted our industry’s ability to put private dollars into rail infrastructure projects and we welcome these commonsense improvements.”