Casselton state Senator wants to continue the PSC Rail Safety program

Apr 10, 2018

BNSF rail crossing.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A state Senator from Casselton is hoping the 2019 Legislature will keep the Public Service Commission’s rail safety program.

That program was set up as a pilot project. And it expires next year, unless the legislature re-authorizes it.

Sen. Gary Lee (R-Casselton) helped get the program approved by the Legislature.  He said he thinks the two inspectors have done good work.

"They will need to prove that to the Legislature," Lee said. "I do think they do good work, and have some things they do. I think we will be satisfied with the work they've done."

Lee said the program remains valuable, even as the number of oil trains has declined because of pipelines.

"Going through Casselton, we can see fewer trains going through town than when the oil boom was really on, and pipelines weren't in place," Lee said. "But there's still substantial traffic. And it isn't just oil."

The program is funded by a tax railroads pay.