Testimony reveals local support for O’Ban rail service oversight bill

Senate Bill 6321 prevents passenger rail service from resuming along Point Defiance Bypass until NTSB recommendations implemented

 

OLYMPIA…Testimony heard this week in a hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee indicated strong support among local authorities for Senate Bill 6321, which would require compliance with recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the wake of the 2017 Amtrak train derailment in DuPont before passenger rail service along the route can resume.

Sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, SB 6321 would resume passenger rail service along the Point Defiance Bypass rail corridor only after the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) shows that Sound Transit, Amtrak and the Washington State Department of Transportation have complied with the 2019 recommendations the NTSB detailed in their report on the derailment.

The bill would also withhold state funding until the UTC submits final confirmation of compliance, which is due before Dec. 1, 2020.

Based on testimony, local supporters of Sen. O’Ban’s legislation include the City of Lakewood, Clover Park School District, Pierce County, and West Pierce Fire and Rescue support.

“An unconscionable lack of oversight on the part of Sound Transit, Amtrak and the Department of Transportation directly caused the 2017 Amtrak train derailment in DuPont. The NTSB’s report made that very clear,” said O’Ban. “We can’t trust passenger rail service along the Point Defiance Bypass until we can be sure that all of the NTSB’s recommended steps have been taken. People should be able to feel confident that their safety is the top priority in the decision to resume service. Not anyone else’s bottom line.”