DOT calls on Schumer to move forward with confirmation of railroad nominee citing GOP train crash

DOT calls on Schumer to move forward with confirmation of railroad nominee citing GOP train crash
© Greg Nash

The Department of Transportation is calling on Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) to move forward in the confirmation process of President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE's nominee for Federal Railroad Administrator.

Citing the crash of a train carrying GOP lawmakers earlier this week, Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen wrote a letter calling on Schumer to remove his hold on Ronald Batory’s nomination. He argued that the federal agency must have its top official in place to investigate this week’s crash.

“While the circumstances of that crash are being received by the Federal Railroad Administration, it is clear that the agency needs to have its chief rail safety official in place,” the letter reads.


The train, which was carrying GOP lawmakers en route to the annual Republican retreat, collided with a truck on Wednesday, killing one of the truck's passengers.

“In the interest of the public safety, I am asking that you set aside wholly unrelated issues and remove your hold on this nomination to become the Federal Railroad Administrator.”

While the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved Batory last year, his nomination has since been held up in the upper chamber.

Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? House committee launches investigation into Transportation Secretary Chao MORE has previously accused New York and New Jersey Democrats of holding Batory’s nomination over the administration’s stance on a multibillion dollar rail project known as the Gateway Program.

That program is aimed at rebuilding passenger rail connection under the Hudson River between New York City and Newark, N.J. But the Trump administration has backed away from the federal government’s involvement in the project, withdrawing from the program’s board last summer. 

The Federal Transit Administration in a December letter denied the presence of an agreement that says the federal government would split the cost of the project with New York and New Jersey.