Update: Governor McAuliffe Announces Railroad Safety Task Force

Lynchburg, VA - Governor Terry McAuliffe is spending some time in Lynchburg on Friday, including a tour from above.

McAuliffe was taken up in a helicopter this morning to give him an aerial view of the site of last week's train derailment and massive fire.

He also took the time to thank emergency personnel for their job well done at the time of the accident that led to the evacuation of the downtown area.

The governor says he will be working toward keeping people safe, and to protect water resources like the James River, where some of the derailed train cars went into.

"Our drinking water is safe, but it reminds us every day that accidents do occur and we need to make sure we are doing everything that we possibly can, as it relates to the prevention at the federal level, and then obviously the response. But the team here was spectacular," he said.

No one was hurt in the train derailment but it did keep parts of downtown Lynchburg closed while crews cleaned up the wreck.

Governor McAuliffe also announced the creation of the Commonwealth's Railroad Safety and Security Task Force.

"The train derailment that occurred on April 30 raises important public safety and health concerns," said Governor McAuliffe. "While fortunately no one was hurt, it is critical that we determine the cause of this accident to help better protect Virginia's families. The Railroad Safety and Security Task Force will help ensure that the Commonwealth is a national leader in preventing, preparing for, and responding to these types of events."

Earlier this week, Governor McAuliffe sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx highlighting his support to strengthen federal rules regarding the safety of rail cars carrying crude oil, as well as improved communication between the rail companies, first responders, and community officials.

The Governor's new task force will include state agencies officials and subject matter experts. Members of the task force will be responsible for making recommendationsand taking actionto enhance Virginia's capability to protect lives, property, and the environment along our many rail lines.

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