Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Szabo: New safety regs will be a priority at FRA

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At his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Joseph Z. Szabo, President Obama's choice to head the Federal Railroad Administration, pledged to make "implementation of new safety provisions" a priority if he is approved for the post.

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He was speaking of the 41 rail safety rule makings, studies, and model state laws mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

He said other priorities would include implementing provisions of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, plus two major rail grant programs established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: one providing $1.3 billion for capital grants for Amtrak, including $450 million for security improvements; and another providing $8 billion for high speed passenger corridors.

Szabo said he would also advocate that rail be considered an integral part of a larger solution for reducing highway and airway traffic congestion.