(WKBN) – On Thursday, Congressman Bill Johnson (R, 6th District) introduced bipartisan legislation called the Reducing Accidents in Locomotives (RAIL) Act.

Johnson represents East Palestine in Congress. Ten other Ohio representatives are co-sponsoring the bill.

According to Johnson, the goal is to make rail transportation safer in the United States. Changes under the RAIL Act would include increased funding for first responder training dealing with hazardous materials and raising penalties for safety violations.

“We’ve got to get all the facts from the NTSB. This is just a starting point. What we’re starting with today are very pragmatic changes based on what we know today. I’m hopeful that as we do our job of educating and informing our conference, I think you’re going to see a lot more interest in Congress,” Johnson said.

Johnson says Ohio ranks fourth in the country for serious train accidents and hazardous material spills, with 281 between 2019 and 2022.

The RAIL Act now goes to a House subcommittee.