Lac Megantic mayor joined by U.S., Canadian counterparts on rail safety push

Lac Megantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche. (JEAN-FRANCOIS DESGAGNES/QMI AGENCY FILES)

Lac Megantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche. (JEAN-FRANCOIS DESGAGNES/QMI AGENCY FILES)

Jessica Murphy, Senior Washington Correspondent

, Last Updated: 5:05 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Lac Megantic's mayor says she — and her town — became the unwilling face of the need for better rail safety across North America.

And this week, Colette Roy-Laroche brought that message to Washington to press politicians to act.

Last July, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields derailed in Lac Megantic, Que., killing 47 people and flattening the town's core.

In 2008, U.S. railways ferried 9,500 carloads of crude across the country. That jumped to over 400,000 in 2013, according to the Association for American Railroads. The statistics are similar in Canada.

"In the face of such a challenge, municipal co-operation has no borders," Roy-Laroche said.

Roy-Laroche was joined in the U.S. capital by the mayors of Magog, Que, Richibucto, N.B., and Barrington, Ill.

"We soon realized that rail safety was more — much more — than a local issue in Quebec and that we'd better get the entire municipal sector on side," said Magog Mayor Vicki Hamm.

The group met with senior federal transport safety officials over two days and held a Congressional briefing for U.S. members of Congress and staff, bringing with them a laundry list of demands.


Videos

Photos