PSC pushing to keep two rail inspectors

Mar 21, 2017

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.
Credit PSC

The Public Service Commission is asking the state Senate to restore one of the positions the House cut in the state rail inspection program.

The budget request calls for two full time employee. The House cut it to one.

"One of them is considered temporary, the other is full time," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "The temporary employee is working full time. We invested in his training and his certification, and he's highly qualified to act independently as a rail inspector."

Fedorchak said he's doing some important things, including mechanical inspection.

"This is an important position, with value for the long term," Fedorchak said.

Fedorchak said funding for those rail inspectors comes from the diesel fuel tax that railroads pay. She says it is not an expansion of the program – rather, keeping what the state already has.

The bill is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. And the chairman of the subcommittee looking at the PSC budget said he’s definitely open to have that position restored.

"They're both trained, certified, qualified people to do the job," said Sen. Gary Lee (R-Casselton). "They have done substantial work in actually walking the rails and finding issues that needed to be resolved in terms of mechanical or track."

Lee said he believes it is something the Legislature should approve.