A report released today by the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association lists Cameron County in its "Dangerous Dozen" list of the most dangerous counties for freight and rail passenger safety in Texas.
The report, “Dangerous Dozen: Rail Safety in Texas,” lists the 12 most dangerous counties in Texas based on the number of freight and passenger rail accidents and incidents reported from 1998 through 2007. Among all states, Texas ranks No. 1 for train-vehicle collisions and deaths at rail crossings. Cameron County is listed as No. 8 of the 12 listed counties.
In descending order, Texas counties on the “Dangerous Dozen” list are:
1. Harris County (Houston).
From 1998 through 2007 in Harris County, 1,376 rail accidents and incidents—such as derailments, collisions, pedestrian trespassing and hazardous material releases—were reported to the Federal Railroad Administration, according to a data analysis by the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association. Over the 10-year period, rail accidents and incidents in Harris County resulted in 90 deaths and 1,145 injuries.
2. Tarrant County (Fort Worth): 799 accidents and incidents, 39 deaths, 710 injuries.
3. Bexar County (San Antonio): 493 accidents and incidents, 51 deaths, 519 injuries.
4. Dallas County (Dallas): 356 accidents and incidents, 38 deaths, 225 injuries.
5. Webb County (Laredo): 331 accidents and incidents, 17 deaths, 282 injuries.
6. El Paso County (El Paso): 282 accidents and incidents, 34 deaths, 231 injuries.
7. Jefferson County (Beaumont): 222 accidents and incidents, eight deaths, 154 injuries.8. Cameron County (Brownsville): 144 accidents and incidents, seven deaths, 124 injuries.
9. Brazoria County (Angleton-Pearland): 143 accidents and incidents, eight deaths, 112 injuries.
10. Potter County (Amarillo): 123 accidents and incidents, nine deaths, 111 injuries.
11. Fort Bend County (Richmond-Sugar Land): 121 accidents and incidents, 15 deaths, 77 injuries.
12. Bell County (Temple-Belton): 116 accidents and incidents, 16 deaths, 97 injuries.
From 1998 through 2007 in Texas, 12,271 rail accidents and incidents were reported to the Federal Railroad Administration—the highest number of any state. Over the 10-year span, 853 deaths and 7,203 injuries occurred in those accidents and incidents.
“Although 2007 was the safest year ever in the history of the American rail industry and Congress recently passed the most sweeping rail safety legislation in more than 30 years, much work remains toward further enhancing the safety track record of our nation’s rail lines,” Bruce Todd, executive director of the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association, said.
“In Texas, millions and millions of dollars are needed to improve the safety of our rail system, including rerouting freight tracks away from congested urban areas and fixing an assortment of dangerous at-grade rail crossings. Far too many Texans are being killed and injured along our state’s rail lines.”More than 40 railroads operate in Texas
on nearly 15,000 miles of track—the highest amount of rail mileage of any state. Each year, railroads in Texas carry more than 10million carloads of freight.
Texas is among 30 states that are part of the federal Rail State Safety Participation Program. Under this program, government-employed safety inspectors check compliance with rail regulations concerning hazardous materials, operating practices, power and equipment, tracks, and signal and train controls.
During the Texas Legislature’s 2009 session, which starts Jan. 13, the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association will pursue various options for funding that would enable relocation and improvement of freight rail lines around the state.
The funding would create a revenue stream that could leverage billions of dollars in bonding authority to improve transportation safety, ease congestion at hundreds of railroad crossings around the state, increase the capacity of the state’s freight rail network, shift more of the state’s ever-growing truck freight load to improved rail lines and open up existing freight lines for passenger traffic.
Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2005 establishing the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund to finance relocation and improvement projects. However, even though the amendment has been approved, state lawmakers have not yet dedicated any money for the fund.
For more information, visit www.railrelo.org.SOURCE: Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association
Labels: Brownsville, Cameron County