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Rail Safety Press Conference

Posted on May 22, 2023


May 22, 2023

Mayor Rob Putaansuu Joins Local Leaders, U. S. Senator Cantwell on Capitol Hill to Call for Passage of Railway Safety Act

Bipartisan legislation would keep rail moving safely through Washington cities.

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, May 17, Port Orchard Mayor Rob Putaansuu joined a press conference hosted by the National League of Cities and U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (WA) on the need for Congress to act on rail safety.

Local leaders highlighted their communities’ rail concerns and urged the Senate to pass the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023. You can watch the press conference here.

Around 140,000 miles of track in the U.S. cross directly through many of the nation’s 19,000 cities and towns. The unfortunate derailment and environmental contamination in East Palestine is not unprecedented, with more than 1,000 trains derailing last year in multiple states. More than 500 cities and towns signed letters urging Congress to act on rail safety.

“The bipartisan Railway Safety Act is trying to prevent disasters like East Palestine from happening in any other town in America again,” said Senator Marie Cantwell (WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. “We took the lessons of East Palestine and turned them into legislation.”

The bipartisan Railway Safety Act passed the Senate Commerce Committee last week. The legislation must now pass the full Senate. A summary of its key provisions can be found here.

Mayor Putaansuu, who serves as the President of the Association of Washington Cities, was in DC for the National League of Cities State Municipal League leadership fly-in. They met with key congressional staff to discuss municipal priorities and advocate on the behalf of their residents. On Thursday, he visited the White House to meet with key staff and discuss investments in infrastructure, the debt ceiling, and other local priorities.

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