Rail bill on track to improve preparedness

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(ABC 6 News) – A new bill is on the tracks in the Minnesota Senate, and it’s aimed toward emergency incident preparedness provisions for rail transport of potential hazardous substances.

The measure was being written well before Thursday’s derailment in Raymond, Minnesota.

The bill would change how emergency crews prepare and respond to train derailments and require officials to set a timeline when an accident happens and require the railroad to notify emergency responders what’s on the train.

“I think it’s time given how many accidents we’ve had to make sure we are talking about this regularly. And things change, markets change. You know, a few years ago we were running a lot of North Dakota petroleum through Minnesota. That market changed a little bit. They are still there, but there aren’t as many. So, knowing what kinds of cargos are moving through towns, i think keeping that updated every couple of years is really important,” said Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL) Moorhead.

Kupec introduced the bill to the Senate transportation committee Friday afternoon. Similar bills have been proposed in the legislature before but did not pass.