A Senate-approved amendment to the 2002 Transportation Appropriations Bill calls for a federal analysis of the risks associated with the transportation of hazardous materials, according to information from the office of Sen Harry Reid (D-NV), who sponsored the amendment. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the General Accounting Office (GAO) would conduct the analysis, if the bill is eventually approved by Congress.
The amendment calls for a survey of the nation's transportation system that carries hazardous materials, including recommended infrastructure upgrades. It also calls for an assessment of emergency response systems ability to contain future disasters; and for the DOT and the GAO to evaluate governmental communication with the public about transportation accidents involving dangerous substances. DOT and GAO also would study the ability of emergency response personnel to respond to transportation accidents involving dangerous substances, according to information from the senator's office.
The amendment requires the Secretary of DOT -- in consultation with the Comptroller General -- to study risks to the public health and safety associated with the transportation of hazardous chemical and radioactive materials. It also requires DOT and GAO to study whether the United States transportation system can safely transport these substances, and asks how improvement might be made upon a "mixed track record," according to the information.