The House Oversight Committee is launching a probe into a “series of aviation and rail safety failures” on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s watch.
“These failures indicate a recent and disturbing pattern of failures at the Department placing…the safety of Americans at risk,” the committee’s Republican majority wrote to Buttigieg Tuesday.
“Therefore, we request a briefing, documents, and communications related to the Department’s efforts to investigate and remediate these issues to protect the safety of all Americans.”
Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., cited nine specific train derailments involving hazardous or flammable materials that occurred between November 2022 and June 2023.
The letter also named nine aviation issues, including several near-collisions and incidents at Alabama’s Montgomery Regional Airport and San Antonio International Airport that caused the deaths of ground crew members there.
“Data collected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and DOT Federal Railroad Administration indicates that there were 1,730 runway incursions in 2022 and approximately 2,000 rail incidents reported nationwide, including approximately 1,310 derailments and 146 collisions,” the committee said in a press release
Lawmakers are urging Buttigieg and his Transportation officials to hand over information on all incidents that have resulted in death, injury or financial damage, including any such communications between the department and President Biden’s White House.
“The safety failures have eroded the public’s confidence in air and rail safety and necessitates thorough investigation,” the Republicans wrote.
They are urging Buttigieg and his Transportation officials to hand over information on all incidents that have resulted in death, injury or financial damage, including any such communications between the department and President Biden’s White House.
Comer also called on the department to provide the Oversight committee with a staff-level briefing by Sept. 19.
The scrutiny came on the same day that chaos briefly broke out in airports across the country as United Airlines flights were forced to issue a ground stop over computer server issues.
“We are experiencing a systemwide technology issue and are holding all aircraft at their departure airports. Flights that are already airborne are continuing to their destination as planned,” United said in a statement on Tuesday before the issues were resolved hours later.
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