Funding for rail infrastructure uncertain
6:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Blumenthal to introduce rail safety bill; renews call for infrastructure bank

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal at the Metro-North station in West Haven, Conn. on Tuesday.
Credit Craig LeMoult

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says he's introducing a bill that would increase federal oversight of the U.S. rail system and require railroads to make safety improvements.  It’s not yet clear how some of that would be funded.

Blumenthal’s office says the Senator will formally introduce the legislation in the coming weeks. It follows more than a year of troubles on Metro-North railroad, including two derailments, the deaths of two track workers, and a massive power outage. In a written statement, a Metro-North spokesman said they have not seen Blumenthal’s legislation yet, so they couldn’t comment, but that they look forward to working with the Senator to improve rail safety. Blumenthal is chairman of a transportation subcommittee. He says existing federal regulation and oversight of rail safety has been "shamefully inadequate." In a written statement, a  spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration says 2013 was the safest year on record for the nation’s railroads, in part because the FRA improved rail inspections and instituted new safety regulations, as well as other steps.