With several Queens communities negatively impacted by freight trains hauling waste and construction debris through their neighborhoods, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng introduced legislation that would require covers on all rail cars that transport materials such as trash and debris.

The Train Coverings for Community Safety Act (H.R. 6497) would direct the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to propose regulations that require materials transported by rail to be completely covered while in transit, including while being held, delayed or transferred.

“This is a simple bill and is the result of hearing from many constituents, who for too long, have been forced to endure the adverse effects of trains that transport waste and debris through their neighborhood,” said Meng. “Many borough residents in the western part of my district have long complained about the stench caused by this trash, and they’ve been concerned about materials flying out of traveling rail cars. Those who live near the tracks have also been subjected to trash-filled trains sitting idle for days near their homes. Placing covers on top of train cars – so that all waste is completely containerized – would help alleviate these many problems, and ensure that uncovered trains no longer affect the quality of life of area residents.”

The freight trains that travel through communities in Meng’s district transport commercial waste, municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris. The tracks run through areas in Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.

Meng’s legislation has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.