Actions Needed to Further Improve Railroad Safety: Statement of Kurt W. Hyde, Assistant Inspector General for Surface and Maritime Programs, U.S. Department of Transportation before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, United States Senate [open pdf - 252KB]
"We appreciate the opportunity to testify today on the reauthorization of the Federal Railroad Safety Program. We commend this Subcommittee for its work as you consider legislation to further improve railroad safety. Improvements in safety are important because railroads transport people and freight over 790 million train miles annually-by way of 173,000 miles of track-and affect the lives of millions of Americans. Railroads employ about 232,000 workers and transport about 42 percent of the nation's freight. This industry will grow substantially in the future. The Department estimates that, between 1998 and 2020, the amount of freight transported by rail will increase by about 50 percent. As we reported in our Fiscal Year 2007 Top Management Challenges issued to the Department, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) must continue implementing its safety initiatives since train accidents are on the rise overall. As the FRA Administrator noted in a congressional hearing on May 8 of this year, the rail industry's safety record has improved, but a significant number of train accidents continue to occur and the train accident rate has not shown substantive improvement in recent years."
Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General, Testimony CC-2007-060