Buttigieg to visit scene of Ohio crash Thursday


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While in the eastern Ohio community of about 5,000 people, Buttigieg will receive an update from the National Transportation Safety Board — the lead agency investigating the crash — on its probe, which could take as long as 18 months to complete. He is also expected to meet with DOT officials who arrived on the ground within hours of the derailment.

Buttigieg’s visit comes as Republicans such as Florida Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio have sharply criticized his handling of the issue, including his slowness to visit the scene of the derailment.

It is exceedingly rare for a transportation secretary to visit the site of a train derailment, especially one that resulted in no fatalities — even though this crash has resulted in unusually heavy national media attention, partly driven by the televised image of the accident’s toxic black plume and residents’ anger over the safety of their air and water. About 1,000 train derailments occur each year, according to federal data.

“The secretary is going now that the EPA has said it is moving out of the emergency response phase and transitioning to the long-term remediation phase,” the person familiar with Buttigieg’s thinking told POLITICO.

The trip comes the day after former President Donald Trump was expected to meet with locals Wednesday and deliver cleaning supplies and pallets of bottled water.

“The Department of Transportation will continue to do its part by helping get to the bottom of what caused the derailment and implementing rail safety measures, and we hope this sudden bipartisan support for rail safety will result in meaningful changes in Congress,” DOT said in a statement Wednesday.

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( With inputs from : )


TheNewsCaravan News Desk

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