Curtis Tate Published

Capito Votes No On Rail Safety Bill Prompted By East Palestine Derailment

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, dressed in a gray blazer, speaks to a group of women in the West Virginia Legislature.Will Price/West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Railway Safety Act passed the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Wednesday on a bipartisan 16 to 11 vote. The February train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, prompted the legislation.

Among those voting no: West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

In a statement, Capito said she agrees with parts of the bill, but voted against it “because of the long list of extraneous provisions in it that had nothing to do with the derailment in Ohio or with rail safety in general.”

“Provisions like a new grant program for commuter railroads that already received billions in the infrastructure law and COVID packages, and giving many new authorities to the Biden administration that will lead to more hazardous materials being transported by truck, which will only hurt our roads,” she continued.

The bill would improve technology that detects mechanical problems on trains, requires more information about hazardous materials shipments to be provided to first responders, increases civil penalties for safety violations and mandates at least two people on board every train.

It now goes to the full Senate.