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Schumer calls for more inspection of railroad bridges

Alan Kotok
via Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer says the federal government needs more railroad bridge safety inspectors. The New York Democrat says that while the federal government is responsible for the safety of bridges it owns, many others are owned by private rail companies.

Schumer says while there are 3,000 of those bridges in New York state, there is only one inspector assigned to audit them, in addition to the bridges in 13 other states.

"And the audits, by the way, keep the railroads honest. They make sure, if they know they're being audited rather regularly, the inspections are going to obviously be better and tougher."

sShumer says this issue is of particular concern because of the increase in highly flammable shale oil being transported from Canada, Montana and North Dakota into and through New York state. Many railway bridges cross local roads.

"We should not be waiting for a derailment or a horrific collapse to do something to make sure our bridges are safe, privately owned or otherwise.

the senator says there are 261 such rail bridges in central New York, 232 in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area and 144 in the North Country.

Schumer wants to add funding for more inspectors in the next federal budget. For years, Schumer has also been pushing for to make the rail cars that the oil is transported in safer.