AAR's CEO applauds Senate panel's approval of Railroad Reform bill

Edward Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR), released a statement on Thursday after the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee advanced the Railroad Reform, Enhancement and Efficiency Act.

"The freight rail industry commends the Commerce Committee's bipartisan leadership for building unanimous committee support for a comprehensive package that addresses a number of key areas for our industry, including safety, passenger-rail reauthorization and financing, and environmental permitting reform,” Hamberger said. “The AAR looks forward to working with the committee and the Senate as the bill moves forward.

"Safety is a core value of the nation's freight railroads, and we are encouraged that committee amendments improved upon the Department of Transportation's tank car rule, in particular with respect to the lack of enhanced thermal protection and the unjustified ECP brake requirement," Hamberger said. "The data-driven, science-based approach by the Commerce Committee ensures that attention is focused on those areas that truly advance transportation safety.

"The freight railroad industry has long supported funding for Amtrak at a level that allows adequate capital investment to maintain the system and to deliver passenger service,” Hamberger said.

"The freight-rail industry is very encouraged with provisions to streamline environmental and historic preservation review processes,” Hamberger said. “Railroads have long encountered duplicative and burdensome permitting delays unrelated to environmental quality that have negatively impacted our industry's ability to put private dollars into rail infrastructure projects, and we welcome these common-sense improvements."

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