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ND regulator outlines plan for rail safety program

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WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) -A North Dakota regulator who has proposed a state-run rail safety program to bolster federal oversight says the effort would cost $500,000 a year.

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak's plan calls for hiring two inspectors and a rail safety manager. She proposed it in late June and outlined details Thursday. The proposal is included in the PSC's budget request to the governor.

The PSC says rail traffic increased by 233 percent between 2000 and 2012 due to the state's oil boom. The commission says North Dakota has had 56 track-related accidents over the past five years.

North Dakota's railways are monitored by the Federal Railroad Administration, but it has only two inspectors in the state. Fedorchak says the federal agency "is stretched too thin'' and has responded too slowly.

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