Assemblymember Dababneh’s Public Safety Bill to Protect Californians from Railroad Noise Passes Assembly Floor

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Measure prompted by constituents affected by excessive train noise heads to State Senate.

SACRAMENTO — Assembly Bill (AB) 1421 by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D – Woodland Hills) has passed the California Assembly with strong, bipartisan support. This legislation will require the Department of Public Health to conduct a statewide study to determine the noise and vibration levels produced by railroad lines in the vicinity of residential areas and schools.

“Excessive noise and vibrations caused by passing trains is a serious public health issue, particularly for young children,” stated Assemblymember Dababneh. “That is why I have proposed this study, which I believe is essential for two reasons:

  • First, the public has a right to know if they are living in an area or if their children are attending a school with a dangerous level of rail noise.
  • Second, this bill will allow communities to better understand the extent and breadth of this public health risk.”

"There are so many reasons why AB 1421 is vital legislation,” said Michael Rissi, Community Organizer, Northridge Residents for Environmental Justice Committee and Co-Chair, Citizens Against Double Track Steering Committee. “At the top of the list is the protection of children and the elderly from the harmful effects of heavy rail noise and vibration. All of society benefits when we make the effort to carefully consider all humane options of transportation and mitigations as opposed to railroading the public first and asking questions later.”

Based on review of stretches of railroad in California, including several miles of tracks in the Northridge community of Assemblymember Dababneh’s district, results indicate a daily average noise level of over 70 decibels in residential areas and existing vibration levels over 75 vibration decibels, both which exceed federal guidelines. Excessive noise at these levels can cause hearing loss, learning disabilities, heart attacks, strokes and even damage to fetuses.

Medical professionals agree that the study proposed in AB 1421 is vital to public health. The bill has the support of the American Academy of Pediatrics (California), California Academy of Audiology, and the California Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

The bill will now be considered by the California State Senate.

Railroad Noise Protection Bill (AB 1421) Passes Assembly Floor