Railroads

Nearly $35.9 million in state funding has been approved for rail freight improvements. The grants will help support about 34,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.

“Freight rail is actually very important in Pennsylvania, because we have the highest number of short-line railroads in the entire country, and we’re in the top five as far as the number of miles we have of track,” said Penndot spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt, “so we need to keep investing in those resources, because they support good paying jobs and they keep goods moving through our state.”

In the wake of several train derailments in Pennsylvania this year, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is pushing for the passage of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, which he said would improve rail safety.

“The bill would provide funding for twenty new rail and hazardous materials inspectors,” said Casey, “and in addition to that the bill would allow the retention of 45 rail safety positions that were created just this year.”

Recent train derailments have raised concerns about the safety of shipping hazardous materials by rail, and now the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is stepping up efforts to improve response times when emergencies do occur.