Municipalities applaud new federal rail regulations

The organization representing Canadian towns and cities say they are satisfied with the federal government's announcement on tightening rail safety measures.

Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt said today that the federal government is ordering 5,000 aging DOT 111 cars pulled immediately, and that newer ones be retrofitted to meet new standards.

Other measures include beefing up emergency response assistance and improving rail risk assessments. 

Claude Dauphin says the new regulations are in line with demands the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has made for months and with recommendations made by the Transport Safety Board.

He's especially pleased that the older DOT 111 cars will be pulled, given the role they played in the Lac Megantic disaster.

But he says there is still a lot of work to be done.

That includes aligning norms with the United States and changing insurance rules.

"We want to make sure that in the future, all companies, big ones and small ones, will have good, premium insurance to make sure that taxpayers are not stuck with the bill" for cleaning up after accidents.

He notes that the railway at the centre of the Lac Megantic tragedy, the now-defunct Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway, only had $30-million insurance coverage, an amount Dauphin said "did not even pay for a fraction of the clean-up costs."

Dauphin says there are about 65,000 DOT 111s in North America.

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