Several weeks ago, I began working on legislation for train safety after multiple incidents in Rockland County and the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The fires in Rockland County along the CSX rail lines this past Friday have only heightened the need for this legislation, and we have spent the last several days modifying and improving its language.
Today, I am happy to share that I have filed the abovementioned legislation. Senate Bill 6435 amends the transportation law concerning penalties for individuals, corporations, companies, and associations violating rules and regulations related to braking systems, steering components, coupling devices, and the transportation of hazardous materials.
Yesterday, our office convened an in-person meeting with representatives from CSX Rail to demand answers and accountability. Elected federal, state, county, and local leaders across Rockland County participated via Zoom. We were all clear that families, first responders, and municipalities must be made whole for all damages and costs incurred. We also requested a clear timeline and process for making claims. We are happy to report that CSX has created a streamlined claims process. Affected homeowners must email damage estimates directly to CSX at email@example.com.
While CSX has performed an internal investigation, the Federal Railroad Administration must conduct an independent investigation of last Friday’s fires. Sheriff Lou Falco was part of yesterday’s meeting, and thanks to the questions he asked, we now know that CSX has video of the train from the time of the incident. CSX pledged to provide Sheriff Falco with a copy of the video to assist the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office with their independent investigation. Please know that we are, and will continue to, hold CSX accountable and keep our Rockland County residents informed.