Federal Railroad Administration
On February 3, 2023, Ohio was suddenly and unexpectedly rocked by an accident whose long-term consequences are still unfolding. A Norfolk Southern-operated freight train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in the village of East Palestine. This accident, which poses severe threats to the environment and safety of the local community, has raised significant concerns about the environmental implications of train accidents and the safety of transporting hazardous materials through residential areas.
New Jersey Transit, one of our nation’s busiest commuter railroads, is no stranger to service and safety issues. Once a model agency to others, it is now the U.S. leader for breakdowns, accidents, and fines. Last year the agency logged the most accidents of the nation’s 10 biggest commuter railways, including the deadly Hoboken train crash. This past March, Todd C. Barretta took the reins of New Jersey Transit’s Chief Compliance Officer—a position that had been vacant since the agency created a safety office in 2014. He lasted a mere six months before being demoted, suspended, and ultimately fired. The New Jersey Transit system is a dysfunctional runaway train that needs an overhaul of its operating system to ensure safety for passengers and employees.