Mayor Rahm Emanuel is emphasizing the dangers of moving crude oil and other hazardous materials through Chicago's rail network, saying hundreds of schools, parks and playgrounds are within a half mile of the tracks.
Emanuel spoke Friday at a panel discussion that included President Barack Obama's secretaries of transportation and energy. The forum at the University of Illinois at Chicago was part of a review of the nation's energy strategy.
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Emanuel repeated a call he made earlier this year for shippers to be required to pay a fee to go toward training for first responders.
The issue has gained attention with a string of fiery rail accidents as domestic oil and gas production skyrockets.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said his department has taken steps to "raise the bar on safety."