Senator Reverend Warnock Secures Major Victories in Bipartisan Rail Safety Legislation to Address Stalled Trains, Trapping Atlanta Residents

Senator Reverend Warnock, a member of the Senate Commerce committee, secured the passage of two critical provisions to address stalled trains trapping Atlanta residents in their neighborhood

Following ProPublica’s and InvestigateTV’s reporting on this nationl issue, WSB-TV reported that neighbors in Atlanta’s Hunter Hills neighborhood have been trapped for as many as 30 hours by stalled trains

The Railway Safety Act of 2023was passed out of the Senate Commerce committee by a vote of 16-11, which included Senator Warnock’s provisions

The provisions championed by Senator Reverend Warnock will modify an existing rail safety grant program to give special attention to eliminating or relocating railway crossings near schools or along school bus routes, and provide communities opportunities to report blocked rail crossings directly to rail carriers

Georgia ranks #9 in the country for most reports of blocked crossings since December 2019

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce committee, secured two key provisions in the Railway Safety Act of 2023 which was passed out of the Senate Commerce committee with bipartisan support. One of the Senator’s provisions would update the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program to give special attention to projects that eliminate railway crossings along a school bus route or within a mile of a school; the provision would also update the grant program to lower the percentage that local governments have to contribute to these rail safety projects, making these projects more accessible and affordable. Additionally, the Senator secured a separate provision in the legislation to empower community members if a train stalls in their neighborhood by creating a process for the public to report blocked crossings directly to rail carriers. Earlier in the spring, Leader Schumer called for prompt passage of Railway Safety Act of 2023, indicating an imminent floor vote on this legislation, including Senator Warnock’s provision.

“Reports of stalled trains trapping Georgians in their neighborhoods for hours or even days is unacceptable,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I was proud to join my colleagues today in leading the Senate to take a much-needed first step to address this problem by working to address rail crossings that block our children from getting to school. While I’ll keep pushing to get this bill to the Senate floor, I will continue to demand rail companies respect the communities they travel through.” 

Read the full bill text HERE, Senator Warnock’s amendment text HERE AND HERE, and bill summary HERE.