A coalition of mayors from Quebec, New Brunswick and the U.S. will be taking the issue of railway safety to the U.S. Congress next week.
The mayors of Magog and Lac-Mégantic will be in Washington for two days of meetings with U.S. officials, as part of the recently formed coalition of American and Canadian municipalities.
“We have the same preoccupations and we also have the same difficulties in getting the information we need to do our jobs,” Vicki May Hamm, the mayor of Magog, who’s also the spokesperson for the coalition, said, when explaining why the cross-border coalition was created.
The group wants laws put in place that will require railway companies to disclose what they're carrying and, they don't want to be stuck paying the bill in the event of a disaster.
“The action plan covers preventing accidents and being well prepared to intervene; if something happens, the [recovery process] is very complicated and very costly.”
Hamm says railway safety is crucial; because the Lac-Mégantic tragedy could have struck her town, or any other.
“I think the tragedy hit a lot of communities but often people compare our municipality with Lac-Mégantic because not only does the railroad go through our community but our main street, the hospital, the city hall and our lake is right near the railroad.”
The meetings will be held Monday and Tuesday at the U.S. Congress and at the Canadian Embassy.