Coalition Letter Opposing Railway Safety Act of 2023
We write you to urge your opposition to the Railway Safety Act of 2023. Introduced following the horrible accident in East Palestine, Ohio, the legislation offers a slew of significant new regulations that would do little to improve safety while creating gross inefficiencies for thousands of businesses. The provisions within the bill are much like the list of recommendations offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and would grant this struggling agency unimaginable authority.
Lawmakers would be better served focusing on recovery for the people of East Palestine, including by ensuring railroad Norfolk Southern makes good on their commitments, while also waiting for more details from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to inform any potential future policies. This appears to be the approach advocated thus far by Republican leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Consider just a few of the measures in the bill:
- Any train with just one car carrying hazardous material would then be considered a “hazmat train,” empowering the USDOT to regulate nearly every aspect of train operations thereafter. Trains are typically mixed cargo, so such a provision would capture nearly all freight rail traffic.
- Operators would be required to “to create minimum time requirements” for inspections, rather than focusing on quality of inspections.
- Labor unions would be granted their long-desired wish to permanently freeze current staffing levels into place as it relates to locomotive operations. This widely opposed policy lacks any justification, as shown by the previous administration, and ignores the fact that the train that derailed in Ohio had three people operating the train.
More broadly, we ask that lawmakers consider potential unintended consequences of the Railway Safety Act of 2023 and understand that despite the preventable accident in Ohio, U.S. railroads are safe overall. Rail companies would be forced to divert resources away from critical research and development, which could have otherwise been used to advance new technologies and improve efficiency. Rather than advance this misguided bill, Congress should instead focus on the facts to best protect businesses, consumers, and taxpayers.
Adam Brandon President FreedomWorks
Pete Sepp President
National Taxpayers Union
Ken Blackwell Chairman
Conservative Action Project
David Williams President
Taxpayer Protection Alliance
Roslyn Layton Founder
China Tech Threat
Vice President for Strategy Competitive Enterprise Institute
Andrew Langer Founder
Institute for Regulatory Analysis and Engagement
Paul Gessing President
Rio Grande Foundation
Steve Pociask President & CEO
American Consumer Institute
Ryan Ellis President
Center for a Free Economy
Alfredo Ortiz President & CEO
Job Creators Network
Matthew Kandrach President
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
Richard Manning President
Americans for Limited Government
James L. Martin Founder & Chairman 60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis President
60 Plus Association
Charles Sauer President Market Institute
Karen Kerrigan President & CEO
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
John Hart Executive Director
Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions
Tom Giovanetti President
Americans for a Strong Economy