Local Politics

Fuquay-Varina town commissioner advocates for railway safety in Washington

Fuquay-Varina town commissioner William Harris spoke on behalf of improving railroad safety. Harris said he grew up near a track in Fuquay-Varina.
Posted 2023-05-18T00:06:54+00:00 - Updated 2023-06-08T16:49:56+00:00
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Fuquay-Varina town commissioner William Harris joined federal and local leaders Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol to advocate for the U.S. Senate to pass the Railway Safety Act.

The legislation is heading to the floor of the U.S. Senate and calls for the prevention of train derailments like the one on Feb. 3, 2023, in East Palestine Ohio.

The derailment involved 38 cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials.

Harris said he grew up near the railroad as a kid in Fuquay-Varina.

“It’s sad to say that fascination has gone away over the recent events that have occurred,” Harris said.

Harris said the train was used to transport tobacco.

“When I grew up the railroad track was less than a football field from my house,” Harris said. “And then, when I went to visit my cousin, it was less than that. It was 25 yards.”

Harris said there have been 32 derailments in North Carolina since 2018. It includes a 32-year-old man getting struck and killed by an Amtrak passenger train in September 2020.

“That’s an alarming fact for us,” Harris said.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington; local mayors and other leaders joined Harris during Wednesday’s media availability.

Harris called for railroad companies to improve their signaling.