02 April 2024

When Presented with No Alternative, Pete Buttigieg Will Eventually Do the Minimum Possible

Case in point, after over a decade of accidents and deaths showing that the current management of railroads has no consideration for the general public or their employees, the FRA has finally issued weak staffing requirements for the longest trains.

Weak tea from one of the most overrated politicians in the Democratic Party:

The Biden administration on Tuesday required the largest freight railroads to operate their trains with at least two people on board, seeking to improve rail safety with a new mandate that immediately drew stiff industry opposition.

The new rule arrives more than a year after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, spilling hazardous chemicals into the air and soil. While the roughly 150-car train had three people on board, the incident still triggered new interest in rail safety in Washington, where lawmakers proposed sweeping legislation that remains stalled on Capitol Hill in the face of sustained lobbying by rail companies.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the requirement issued Tuesday would bolster safety, preventing railroads from cutting back crews on trains, which can stretch to as much as three miles long and previously lacked a federal mandate for minimum staff.

“They want to operate that with one person,” Buttigieg said at a news conference. “ … It defies common sense and that changes today.”

The Biden administration first proposed rules requiring two-person crews in 2022, seeking to ensure that the nation’s largest railroads — known as class-one operators — did not whittle down staffing to dangerous levels in a bid to cut costs in a tight economy. Railroads argued against the rule, saying there was little evidence it would improve safety. But rail industry workers flooded the Transportation Department with supportive comments, stressing that they needed the extra help, especially in the case of an emergency.


Nationally, more than 289 derailments and other accidents occurred on main freight lines last year from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, according to a Washington Post review of federal transportation data in February. Despite that record, freight railroads still fought vigorously against new federal rules. Their opposition at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) mirrored their lobbying in legislatures around the country, where they argued there is no evidence that extra staffing would make trains safer. 

Of course the railroad executives are arguing against this.  Additional costs means lower profits, means lower bonuses for them.

We really need to do something to deal with the psychopathy of leaders at major companies in the United States.


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