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COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE,
AND TRANSPORTATION

UNITED STATES SENATE

NINETY-SIXTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

ON

AUTHORIZATIONS FOR RAIL SAFETY ACTIVITIES OF THE
FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION

61-318 O

MARCH 24, 1980

Serial No. 96-97

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON: 1980

COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

HOWARD W. CANNON, Nevada, Chairman

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12A980

34088/14/80

KF26
C698
1980d

CONTENTS

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King, James B., chairman, National Transportation Safety Board; accompanied
by William H. Gossard; and Elmer Garner

Sullivan, John M., administrator, Federal Railroad Administration; accompa-
nied by Bob Parsons, Associate Administrator for Research and Develop-
ment; Joseph Walsh, Associate Administrator, Office of Safety; Lee Santman,
Director, Materials Transportation Bureau; and Kenneth Piersen, Deputy
Director, Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety

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Goldschmidt, Hon. Neil, Secretary of Transportation, letter of March 21, 1980,
responding to questions of the committee

127

1

AMENDMENTS TO THE FEDERAL RAILWAY

SAFETY ACT OF 1970

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 1980

U.S. SENATE,

COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION,

Washington, D.C.

The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., in room 235 of the Russell Senate Office Building; Hon. Russell B. Long (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

OPENING STATEMENT BY SENATOR LONG

Senator LONG. This hearing will come to order. Today the Surface Transportation Subcommittee is holding an oversight hearing on the important issue of rail safety. The focus of today's hearing is the authorization request of the Federal Railroad Administration for its rail safety activities.

In this regard, the Department of Transportation has just transmitted to Congress a bill which would provide for the safety authorization of $28 million for fiscal year 1981 and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 1982. It proposes certain statutory changes in rail safety law.

In reviewing this Administration request, the Committee must keep in mind the statistics on rail accidents. Certain witnesses today will testify to the overall decrease in rail accidents from 1978 to 1979. If this is so, the Committee wants to ensure that this trend continues. In this regard, the Committee must be assured that the safety responsibilities of the FRA in data collection and analysis, formulation of regulations, and enforcement through inspection, emergency orders and civil and criminal penalties are being implemented to ensure that the major causes of accidents are being monitored and that incentives exist for the industry to reduce such

causes.

Of particular concern to me and the rest of the Committee is the rail transportation of hazardous materials. Although preliminary figures indicate that during 1979 there occurred only 112 incidents of hazardous materials releases, the potential danger to particular communities through which much of the hazardous material is transported is ever present. I am encouraged by the rail industry's ongoing tank car retrofit program and urge the industry to cooperate with the FRA its continued efforts toward discovering other technological and operational improvements which would ensure the safer transportation of hazardous material by rail.

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