I testified in opposition to AB 138 today in the Assembly Transportation Committee.
This bill, proposed by Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, would mandate that train engines in Nevada have two employees on board when traveling down a main rail line. The argument in favor of this proposal is that public safety demands it.
While I am certainly sympathetic to public safety concerns, I am worried about the precedent this sets for the business community as a whole. What’s to stop the Legislature from mandating two drivers per 18-wheeler? Or two people in the restaurant kitchen to make sure that the food is not contaminated? (Did I just create a bill draft?)
We all know what happened to the cost of our groceries as gas and diesel prices went up dramatically last year. This occurred because most of the goods that we consume are shipped to us by road or rail vehicles. Any new costly regulation, such as minimum staffing requirements, increases the costs of the goods that we all use. Given that most other states do not have this requirement, this could place Nevada at a competitive disadvantage.
The Legislature should let the railroads run the railroads.