Pa. group releases ad seeking action on rail safety legislation

June 28, 2023

The Rebuilding American Values action group in collaboration with the SMART Transportation Division Pennsylvania State Legislative Board has put its resources forth to support rail safety legislation being considered in the Pa. Senate.

The result is a radio ad being broadcast on Harrisburg-area radio stations 104.1 WNNK-FM 104.1, WQXA-FM 105.7 and WHP-AM 580 through the week of June 26 while the Senate is in session.

H.B. 1028 passed the state House on June 5 by a strong bipartisan 141-62 vote and moved on to the state Senate. It takes the following measures:

  • Fines carriers $10,000 for blocking rail crossings for more than five minutes.
  • Limits train lengths to 8,500 feet.
  • Permits rail labor representatives to have an active, participatory role while the state investigates rail safety matters.
  • Requires a two-person crew aboard freight trains and fines carriers who violate the provision.
  • Authorizes the state to inspect to ensure the functionality of wayside detectors in the state.
  • Authorizes a state study of hazmat/waste transport.
  • Creates a reporting system when carriers operating trains carrying hazmat/waste report these to the state.

SMART Transportation Division Pennsylvania State Legislative Director Paul Pokrowka has been a driving advocate for the safety bill with railroad operations and safety becoming a major focus for the public and in the media since the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment in February.

“We’re working to get the message out because the carriers have a number of allies in the Senate,” he said. “They would like nothing more than to see this bill die on the vine and to persist with the status quo. Thanks to Rebuilding American Values for taking up the cause and helping to get the facts out to the public and to the senators.”