House passes bill requiring notice of hazardous materials in tunnels

NATION DIGEST

October 18, 2007|By Matthew Hay Brown

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives voted yesterday to require railroads to inform local authorities of the hazardous materials they carry through tunnels and to give them information about entrances and exits in case of emergency.

Part of the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007, the requirements were written by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings in response to a 2001 fire caused by the derailment of a train carrying flammable liquid through a Baltimore tunnel.

"The Howard Street Tunnel fire was a catastrophic eye-opener to the need for a safety overhaul of our nation's railway systems, particularly where tunnels and bridges are concerned," said the Baltimore Democrat, a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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