Lawmakers, NTSB officials, at the scene of the disaster
VALHALLA – Senators Charles Schumer (D, NY), Richard Blumenthal (D, CT), Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, 17) and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, 18) inspected the site of the Valhalla railroad crossing where six people were killed this week. The elected officials were brought to a warehouse on Friday where the car and train wreckage were stored, then were briefed by Michael Hiller of the NTSB at the site of the accident.
The NTSB’s investigation is ongoing and Schumer said it is important that no one jump to conclusions yet. “I think it is quick to leap to a conclusion that this was to blame or that was to blame. I think the thing to do that will best get at solving this problem and preventing future accidents is waiting for the NTSB to come out with its full report,” he said.
Blumenthal suggested that education on the proper actions to be taken, if one were to find themselves in a situation where they are stuck on a railroad crossing, would help save lives.
“This kind of infrastructure needs to be improved. It is literally a matter of life and death that we take better steps, stronger measures, to warn people and to educate them”, said Blumenthal.
Maloney, who submitted legislation Wednesday to renew the federal grant program allowing localities to improve their railway crossings, said commuter accidents are a troubling matter.
“There’s something particularly haunting about a commuter accident like this,” Maloney said. “When someone leaves the house in the morning, just like they do every day and then they just don’t come home, any of us who have kids we say goodbye to in the morning, any of us who ride the trains, can understand how haunting that is.”
The NTSB is continuing its investigation.