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Danielle Smith, Producer
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
In Western Pennsylvania, communities are continuing to reel from the Norfolk Southern derailment nearly six months ago, but the railroad recently has committed $1-million to aid ongoing recovery efforts. The community relief funds of $660,000 was distributed to the rural communities of Darlington Township and $340,000 went to Lawrence County.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw explained the additional funding brings the railroad’s total financial commitment in Western Pennsylvania to approximately $8.6-million. He added his company is committed to having safer railroads in Pennsylvania and across the country.
“So we’re taking a multi-step approach to improve safety at Norfolk Southern,” he explained. “We understand the important role that Norfolk Southern plays. In Pennsylvania, we have 2600 employees that proudly call Pennsylvania home. And we have 1,500 customers in Pennsylvania, that we take safety very, very seriously.”
The money comes as a key part of the multi-million-dollar commitment Governor Josh Shapiro secured from Norfolk Southern. In the meantime, the Federal Railroad Administration reports there have been 34 rail-related accidents this year throughout Pennsylvania, attributed to a variety of factors. Several recent incidents are getting companies to shape up their safety plans.
Shaw emphasizes a $750,000 endowment will be established to provide long-term support to nonprofits in Beaver and Lawrence counties focused on basic human needs; health and wellness, community and economic development; education; workforce; safety and the environment.
“We understand that rail is the safest, most efficient and most sustainable form of transporting goods across land,” Shaw said. “And we can do better. And we know that at Norfolk Southern, the number of derailments last year was the lowest in two decades, and we can do better. “
Shaw pointed out that he has engaged with elected leaders on both sides of the aisle in Washington D.C. advocating for many of the provisions on the various railway safety bills that are moving through the house and Senate. The Railway Safety Act of 2023 advanced out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in May with bipartisan support.