WASHINGTON, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Republican Congressman Elton Gallegly (CA 42) and one of his 15 year old constituents, Mackenzie Souser, whose dad was killed in the September 2008 Chatsworth, CA train disaster are expected to testify Thursday that French Conglomerate Veolia, operator of LA's Metrolink commuter trains, long knew of, but did nothing to stop, the engineer texting while driving the trains.
Recently Veolia Transportation, the French company employing the engineer, deposited $200 million into the court -- the cap on rail accidents proscribed by federal law. A judge's review estimated lifetime losses for the survivors in the $600 million range. Veolia has more than enough resources to pay all such damages, but is hiding behind the law.
Twenty five were killed and 135 injured. Some survivors will never work again- will never walk again. One young woman was studying to be a doctor. Part of her brain had to be removed. "Survivors claim to be victimized twice by an international company protecting its profits instead of taking care of those it harmed. Veolia knew the engineer had a history of distracted driving and did nothing," said Richard Myles, survivor and supporter of JARS.
Veolia claims on its website to be the leading private operator of public transportation in Europe and the US, the global leader in water services and the only operator managing all types of waste, including solid, liquid, hazardous and on every continent. It claims safety is its highest priority. By refusing to do the right thing to these victims, Veolia is now violating its own business rules of ethics which it abbreviates with the acronym C.A.R.E. -- the "A" standing for "Accountability, especially for Safety."
The hearing, Federal Regulatory Overreach in the Railroad Industry: Implementing the Rail Safety Improvement Act, will be conducted by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. It will begin at 10 a.m. (7:00 AM PDT) Thursday, March 17, in 2167 Rayburn HOB. Go to the Committee's website for the Hearing webcast link.
For information on the Train Disaster, go to www.JusticeAndRailroadSafety.com