SAN FRANCISCO — Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose didn’t elaborate on the Rule of 2 that his agency recently put forth for the public to weigh in on, but he made it clear as he spoke on the second day of the SMART Leadership Conference that the lines of communication at his agency are open.
And comments are encouraged, he said.
“We truly appreciate your insights in keeping us informed on a daily basis of the things you see and hear, especially when reporting potentially unsafe conditions,” Bose said.
Safety inspections and audits are up at the agency, and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the Rule of Two, which requires a minimum of two crew members on trains, is open for public comment.
The past year and a half of work at the agency has been focused on undoing a questionable course taken under the prior administration in regard to safe rail operations, Bose said, so much of his time has been spent reorienting FRA so that safety is the end goal.
“I want you all to know that my North Star is and always will be safety. It’s about safety. The word ‘politics’ doesn’t enter into my thinking in any way in any part of my day,” Bose said. “I don’t know where politics was from January 2017 to January 2021, I can tell you that some of the decisions that the previous administration made, that word was definitely in there.”
Among the changes by Bose — a reactivation of the Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) and the resumption of safety audits of Class I carriers.
“FRA shares SMART’s commitment to make sure rail operations are safe for workers, rail passengers and the public,” he said.
Bose said that his agency has been and will remain available to hear worker concerns.
“We’ll act promptly to correct problems within FRA’s purview and, for matters that don’t, lend FRA’s voice to bring about workable solutions,” Bose said.
Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson thanked Administrator Bose for taking the time to appear before the union.
“He truly is pointing FRA in a good direction for our members’ safety and for a better rail system in the United States,” President Ferguson said.