FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robert Baird
September 29, 2006 (916) 319-1249
Assemblymember Bermúdez’ Rail Safety Bill Signed Into Law by the Governor
Assembly Bill 158 authorizes a rail safety study.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assembly Bill 158, by Assemblymember Rudy Bermúdez, was signed into law by the Governor. The Rail Safety Taskforce Bill establishes a taskforce to investigate and solve rail safety issues.
“Today California reaffirms its commitment to rail safety. This bill will give us the tools to prevent railroad accidents and disasters,” said Bermúdez.
Currently, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is the regulatory body responsible for assisting the Federal Railroad Commission in monitoring the operations of the state’s railroads and its compliance with federal safety regulations. The PUC is required to annually report to the legislature railroad sites it finds to be hazardous.
“We need another set of eyes to review the safety of our railroads. The Taskforce will be composed of people with many different backgrounds in rail safety. These different perspectives will help the taskforce formulate a comprehensive rail safety solution,” said Bermúdez.
AB 158 would require the Public Utilities Commission to assemble a taskforce to study rail-safety issues. The findings and recommendation of the rail-safety taskforce would be included in the 2008 PUC report on railroad sites found to be hazardous. The taskforce would identify, study, and make recommendations on rail-safety issues including railway vandalism, possible threats of terrorism along railroad lines, land use planning issues, and deficiencies in railroad emergency response.
“There has been a drastic increase in railroad accidents in and around my district, resulting in the loss of property and life. I wrote this bill to ensure that our community never again has to experience this anguish and devastation,” Bermúdez said.
AB 158 is one of three bills being carried by Assemblymember Bermúdez this year to improve the safety and efficiency of California’s railroads and transportation infrastructure. The other bills are AB 1935, the Rail Safety Enforcement Bill and AB 1785, the Grade Separation Bill.
Assemblymember Bermúdez (www.assembly.ca.gov/bermudez) was elected to the Assembly in November 2002. His district includes portions of Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as the cities and communities of Artesia, Buena Park, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Los Nietos, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, South Whittier, Whittier and West Whittier.
Office of Assemblymember Bermudez
State Capitol, Room 5135