WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced $600,000 in new federal funding for rail safety upgrades in Vinton County. The award from the Department of Transportation (DOT) will upgrade nearly 10 miles of track from Hamden to Red Diamond on the Jackson line of the Ohio South Central Railroad to provide a safe rail corridor to transport hazardous materials.
“Our railroads are critical to transporting goods through the state, and communities deserve peace of mind that these lines are safe if they are transporting hazardous materials through their backyards,” said Brown. “This award will support local construction jobs and help modernize a line of the Ohio South Central Railroad to ensure the safe transport of potentially hazardous goods to the southern Ohio companies who need them.”
The DOT award will update a line of the rail that serves Austin Powder, a major employer in the area.
Brown is the cosponsor of legislation that would reduce risks to communities near railroad tracks by getting older tank cars off the tracks faster and encouraging companies to replace them with newer, safer cars. The Hazardous Materials Rail Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2015 would also provide funding to better equip communities and first responders in the event of a rail accident. It would establish a dedicated fund for clean-up costs of oil train accidents, advanced training for first responders, and grant money for states and cities to reroute rail tracks carrying large volumes of hazardous materials away from highly populated areas.