May 8, 2023 - Politics

Sherrod Brown to Norfolk Southern: Stop ignoring us

Sen. Sherrod Brown in a gray suit, seated behind his nameplate during Senate testimony

That's the look Sherrod Brown gives you when he's had enough of your BS. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The deteriorating condition of Norfolk Southern's rail properties in Cleveland spurred Sen. Sherrod Brown to pen a letter to Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw last week.

Driving the news: Brown noted that 16 of the rail company's 20 bridges and overpasses in Cleveland are showing signs of disrepair, including the Lake Avenue Bridge in the Edgewater neighborhood.

The intrigue: Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and elected leaders across Ohio have made frequent requests for repairs, Brown wrote, but these requests have been "largely ignored."

What they're saying: "Norfolk Southern must stop keeping local officials — whether in East Palestine, Sandusky, or Cleveland — at an arm's length and start working together to ensure the safety of all communities," Brown wrote.

  • Of note: Axios heard similar complaints about Norfolk Southern's unresponsiveness from both Cleveland and Sandusky officials when we reported on a 2022 derailment in Sandusky.

What's next: Brown asked Shaw to provide a plan detailing how Norfolk Southern would improve the Lake Avenue Bridge specifically and address "the general problems of rail property disrepair in Cleveland."

The other side: Norfolk Southern confirmed to Axios they had received Brown's letter and said they look forward to meeting with him.

  • "Safety is a top priority for Norfolk Southern," a spokesperson told Axios. "All our bridges are inspected annually per FRA guidelines. Many are inspected more often."

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