U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Rail Safety Agreement With The Peruvian Ministry of Transport
Friday, October 22, 1999 (Washington DC)
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater and Peruvian Minister of Transport, Communications, Housing and Construction Alberto Pandolfi today pledged their commitment to the exchange of information aimed at improving railroad safety in both the United States and Peru.
"Safety is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority," said Secretary Slater. "We have made dramatic improvements in rail safety in the United States, and this cooperative agreement will open the door to a solid partnership to enhance the safety of railroads in both countries."
The Memorandum of Intent (MOI) signed by Slater and Pandolfi will provide a framework for the exchange of information and technical assistance. It will focus on the improvement of safety in rail operations and consider the promotion of environmental and energy aspects of rail transportation.
Under the MOI, the FRA will work to develop an information sharing system with Peru, which can take one of three forms: FRA officials may travel to Peru, Peruvians may send a delegation to the U.S., and/or Peruvians may send personnel to work for six months at the FRA. These models were used with the governments of Argentina and Bolivia which signed agreements last year.
Additionally, the FRA will give to Peru FRA safety regulations and operating standards and work with officials in Peru to see where these would be beneficial and appropriate to adopt in Peru. The FRA will also give the Peruvians information on noise pollution and discuss the regulations on train horns.
Rail safety in the United States has improved dramatically as a result of the Clinton-Gore administration’s partnership with the rail industry. Between 1993-1998 passenger fatalities dropped 93 percent and employee fatalities dropped 43 percent. At the same time, total highway-rail grade crossing incidents declined 28 percent, highway-rail grade crossing fatalities dropped 31 percent and highway-rail injuries dropped 29 percent.
"The Federal Railroad Administration has established a goal of zero tolerance for railroad-related incidents, injuries and fatalities," said Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene Molitoris. "We have developed partnerships in the United States that have contributed to these safety achievements, and now we are partnering with the government of Peru to realize enhanced safety results."
The MOI follows the privatization of Peru’s rail lines in September and as the issue of safety regulations grows in importance. Recognizing this, a new organization, Ositran, was established in Peru to oversee the safety of the privatized rail system. FRA plans to work closely with Ositran as it develops its safety role.
Secretary Slater's visit to Lima is part of a week-long transportation and trade mission to South America. In Curitaba, Brazil, on Monday, October 18, the Secretary joined Governor Jaime Lerner of the state of Parana, Brazil, in announcing a partnership to improve mass transit in both the United States and Parana. On October 20, Slater met with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and joined with Brazilian Transport Minister Eliseu Lemos Padilha in signing a major three-year maritime agreement that ensures that each country’s shipping lines will be treated equally when carrying cargo from the other country. On October 21, Chilean President Eduardo Frei observed the Open Skies signing between Slater and Chilean Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Claudio Hohmann.