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Derailments lead Wisconsin lawmakers to propose Rail Safety Act

Brad Williams

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A string of recent train derailments in America, including a deadly Amtrak crash in Oregon, has led lawmakers from La Crosse to propose a Rail Safety Act for Wisconsin.

La Crosse Senator Jennifer Shilling and state rep. Jill Billings want more action taken to prevent derailments,including more inspections of tracks.

Billings said the law would require train owners to disclose what’s in the rail cars almost immediately after an accident.

The bill was first introduced two years ago with assistance from a rail safety organization in La Crosse.

“We can have a safe way of transporting goods – as safe as we can,” Billings said of the safety act, “do a little bit of prevention work, to prevent possible accidents, and then have a good response once there is a possible derailment.”

Billings added that increases in rail traffic lead to a higher risk of accidents.

She believes people in Wisconsin want to know what the government is doing to avoid train crashes and hazardous spills.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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