As we advance into 2024, the BLET is advancing rail safety legislation in multiple state legislatures throughout the United States. Previously, we reported on a bill in Nebraska. Last week, we added Virginia and Colorado to the list.
In Virginia, BLET State Legislative Board Chairman Tim Craver and members of his Board are lobbying for passage of rail safety bills in the State House and Senate. House Bill No. 385 and Senate Bill No. 143 would limit train length to 8,500 feet, mandate two-person train crews, prohibit railroads from blocking public grade crossings, and prohibit them from parking train cars within 1,500 feet on both sides of any public crossing. Both House and Senate bills would impose financial penalties on railroads for violations of the law.
In Colorado, BLET State Legislative Board Chairman Paul Pearson reports that House Bill 24-1030 was introduced on January 10, 2024, and is scheduled for a hearing before the Committee on Transportation, Housing & Local Government on February 7, 2024. The bill would limit train length to 8,500 feet, require wayside defect detectors every 10-15 miles, prevent railroads from blocking public grade crossings for more than 10 minutes, grant union representatives access to all accidents, mandate minimum insurance requirements for railroads carrying hazardous materials, and would require railroads to offer training at least once every three years to each fire department having jurisdictions along the tracks upon which the railroad operates in the state. The bill would carry financial penalties for rail corporations that fail to meet these safety requirements, with money collected going into the Front Range Passenger Rail District maintenance and safety fund.
Updates will be published on BLET social media and upcoming issues of our Weekly Recap.