WASHINGTON, D.C.(WKBN) – The bipartisan Rail Safety Act of 2023 made its way out of committee and is now headed to the full Senate for consideration.

According to co-sponsor Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the bill will help prevent future disasters like the one that happened in East Palestine in February.

The Act will take a number of key steps to improve rail safety protocols, such as enhancing safety procedures for trains carrying hazardous materials, establishing requirements for wayside defect detectors, creating a permanent requirement for railroads to operate with at least two-person crews, increasing fines for wrongdoing committed by rail carriers, and more.

“Today, we are one step closer to making railroads safer. We built a broad, bipartisan coalition that agree on these commonsense safety measures that will finally hold big railroad companies like Norfolk Southern accountable. I’ll continue working with members of both parties to get this done and make sure disastrous derailments like the one in East Palestine never happen again, Brown said.

Senator JD Vance, R-Ohio, is the bill’s other sponsor. He said that the bill is moving along quickly.

“I am the new guy here, but I’ve been told by everybody that this has really moved at lightning a pace. To for from concept a couple of months ago to a piece of legislation that going to get voted on on the Senate floor in just a few weeks, that’s a very, very good amount of progress,” Vance said.

Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw reiterated Wednesday that he supports the legislation.

“This is a first step toward the ultimate goal of enacting bipartisan legislation that advances rail safety and strengthens the ability of rail carriers to maintain their critical role in the nation’s economy. The Committee bill contains important advancements in accident prevention, accident mitigation, and accident response that will make our railroads, our employees, and communities safer. We look forward to continuing our engagement with Members of Congress on the issues, achieving a meaningful and effective new law, and leading on safety measures within the industry,” Shaw said.

Shaw also announced Wednesday for the first time that Norfolk Southern will mitigate property value losses due to the derailment.