That Nebraska’s Public Service Commission has failed to employ a railroad track safety inspector for two decades, and Gov. Jim Pillen called on the agency to refocus efforts to protect public safety.

“The Nebraska Public Service Commission exists to protect public safety, especially in the areas of our state’s railroads, telecommunications, 911, and oil pipelines,” Pillen said.

“Recently, there have been multiple railroad derailments in Nebraska while key railroad inspector positions have remained unfilled at the PSC for years,” he said. “I call on the PSC to refocus on its core duties and remain diligent in bettering rail safety.”

Nationally, the Federal Railroad Administration is kicking off a new program of focused track inspections on rail routes that carry large amounts of hazardous and flammable materials, after last month’s Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine.

FRA Administrator Amit Bose told reporters his agency will use a combination of human inspectors and technology, including a specialized track inspection vehicle, to ensure track safety, the Plain Dealer Cleveland newspaper said on March 1.

Bose reportedly said FRA will also scrutinize signal and train control infrastructure systems, examine operating practices of dispatchers and crew, and look at mechanical equipment that transports hazardous materials, including tank cars.

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