Last week, our bipartisan Rail Safety Act moved one step closer towards becoming law. On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee voted our bill out of committee with strong, bipartisan support.
We have built a broad, bipartisan coalition – former President Trump endorsed the bill and President Biden has already said he would sign it. Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Roger Marshall and Mike Braun all announced they would support our legislation.
They join the list of Republicans and Democrats across the ideological spectrum who are backing this bill. We introduced the bill with Senator Vance – he and I don’t always agree, but just like with Senator Portman, we work together for Ohio wherever we can.
My colleagues and I agree, big rail companies and the lobbyists that work for them have had too much power and influence for far too long. They have spent years fighting every effort to make our trains and rail lines safer. They cut more than 30% of their workers in less than 10 years.
As a result, Ohioans are paying the price. In a few months there have been at least seven significant derailments in Ohio including East Palestine, Delaware County, Sandusky, Steubenville, Ravenna, two in Springfield, and just last week, another train derailed across the border from Ohio in Pennsylvania.
I have travelled across the state hearing from Ohioans in these communities about why this legislation matters. They have told me how these derailments hurt local businesses, disrupt traffic, and hurt the economy. In East Palestine, farmers worry about their produce and livestock, families worry about the value of their homes, and businesses worry about their future.
These corporations don’t care about the damage that they do, and these communities deserve better.
I will work with everyone to get these reforms passed. It is how I have always done this job and I will keep working to build support and finally stand up to powerful special interests.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.