Senator Addabbo supports new bill for enhanced oversight of freight rail safety

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Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. has taken another step towards ensuring transparency from freight rail services as a co-sponsor of Senate-approved legislation.

The New York State Department of Transportation will now be required to establish a central registry of all reports, audits, plans, and public inspections for freight rail operators, rail cars, and freight lines, according to the new Senate bill S.6922,

Senator Lea Webb, the bill’s main sponsor, introduced the legislation at a time of freight train derailments in parts of the county. In one incident, a Norfolk Southern train derailment in Ohio last year caused the spread of toxic chemicals.

Addabbo, who represents a portion of Central and Southern Queens neighborhoods, says the additional legislation provides further safety measures for residents.

“Expanding our existing rail safety laws is vital to keeping our communities safe, including quality of life standards and oversight of all freight rail infrastructure components,” Addabbo said. ‘The central registry will provide residents access to important safety records of freight railroads operating in their neighborhood.”

The Senator has also co-sponsored similar freight rail-focused legislation before to help address residents’ health concerns. The passage of Assembly Member Rajkumar’s bill (A4928) last year, with Addabbo as a co-sponsor, helped cover freight cars carrying hazardous materials in and around Glendale neighborhoods.

“Last year, my bill requiring trash transported by rail to be covered and secured more effectively was enacted into law. This new Senate bill, S.6922, builds on our commitment to ensure residents in rail communities are provided the transparency they deserve regarding freight rail safety,” Addabbo stated.

The legislation is under review by the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee.