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Sen. Moran introduces legislation to ID, address blocked railroad crossings

(WBAY photo)
(WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:03 PM CST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIBW) - Senator Jerry Moran and his colleagues have introduced legislation that would identify and address all blocked railroad crossings.

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, joined Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) to introduce legislation that would identify and address blocked railroad crossings.

“Many Kansans have experienced the frustration of waiting at a blocked railroad crossing, and in some cases, this interruption can be much more damaging than a delayed arrival home,” said Sen. Moran. “Whether you are a first responder answering a call or a rancher transporting livestock, blocked railroad crossings can become costly or even hazardous barriers for road traffic. This legislation allows the Federal Railroad Administration to continue collecting important data on blocked railroad crossings to make certain our roads are safe and efficient for travel.”

According to Moran, in December of 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration posted its Blocked Crossing Incident Reporter portal where the public and law enforcement could report blocked grade crossings to the agency. HE said the legislation would authorize the FRA’s blocked crossing portal as a three-year pilot program, ensuring the continuation of data collection. He said the FRA would be required to analyze submissions to the portal based on key criteria and provide an analysis to Congress. He said by authorizing the blocked crossing portal and examining results, Congress can better understand the scope and severity of blocked crossings and develop targeted and effective policies to address them.

“There are more than 200,000 highway-railroad crossings across this country,” said Sen. Fischer. “When trains block these crossings, it can cause major inconveniences and even delay first responders. My legislation would ensure the collection of data on blocked crossings to help Congress develop policies that will make America’s roads safer and more convenient.”

Moran said the bill also requires the Federal Highway Administration to evaluate the requirements of the Section 130 railway-highway grade crossing program to identify any more flexibilities in the program that could support states’ efforts to make grade crossings safer.

“We’ve got to do a better job ensuring that our highway-railroad crossings aren’t blocking critical routes for emergency responders or causing significant delays or traffic,” said Sen. Tester. “In order to do that, Congress  needs better data on these blocked crossings so that we can make our highways safer, more efficient, and get people where they need to go a lot faster, and this bipartisan bill will do just that.”

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