Mary Peters

President Bush’s nominee to replace Norman Mineta as secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, presided over the Federal Highway Administration when the agency shut down criminal and civil investigations of CSX Transportation regarding fatal railroad-crossing accidents, according to a former employee of the rail company.

Dave Nelson alleged to WND that the CSXT investigation was shut down by the Federal Highway Administration while John Snow, formerly CEO of CSXT, was Treasury secretary.

Nelson said both Snow and Peters should be asked, “What did you know and when did you know it?”

“All I know was that my lawyer sent me an e-mail and told me the investigations had been shut down,” said Nelson. “I never found out why or by whom.”

Investigating a previous story on CSXT, WND called John Long – a special investigative agent with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. – concerning Nelson’s allegations.

Long abruptly ended the phone call by stating to WND, “We wouldn’t have any comment. We’ve investigated Mr. Nelson’s allegations and the case is closed.”

Still, Long’s comments served to verify an investigation of Nelson’s charges was conducted. Moreover, the DOT, like the U.S. Department of Justice, is not known to open an investigation unless serious and credible charges are made.

In 1993, Nelson’s allegations that CSX Transportation was overcharging for improvements made to railroad crossings resulted in a federal DOT investigation in conjunction with the Florida Attorney General’s office.

To resolve the RICO charges, CSXT made a “voluntary refund” of $2.1 million to 18 states in restitution for overcharges. In 1994, Nelson filed a False Claims Action against CSXT that was settled in 1995 when the company offered the U.S. Department of Justice a $5.9 million payment for the overcharges.

In 2005, New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles entitled “Death on the Tracks,” investigating railroad company cover-ups regarding faulty equipment and false reports concerning fatal accidents at railroad crossings. Bogdanich’s investigation was prompted and advanced by inside information supplied by Nelson.

Nelson continues to charge that CSXT and other major U.S. railroads even today are overcharging the Federal Highway Administration for railroad crossing equipment upgrades designed to prevent accidents.

“Hundreds of people still die each year,” Nelson charges, “because the railroads are negligent when it comes to installing modern crossing signals that could prevent the accidents. This is homicide, and the railroads know it.”

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Jerome R. Corsi received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972 and has written many books and articles, including co-authoring with John O’Neill the No. 1 New York Times best-seller, “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.” Dr. Corsi’s most recent books include “Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil,” which he co-authored with WND columnist Craig. R. Smith, and “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians.”

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