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Dozens of dangerous rail crossings will be eliminated with $570 million in grants

By 06/05/2023 6:54 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


The Biden administration is awarding $570 million in subsidies to assist in the elimination of numerous railroad crossings in 32 states as the rail industry increasingly relies on longer trains to reduce expenses.

The subsidies announced on Monday will help construct bridges or underpasses at the locations of more than thirty crossings that cause traffic delays and occasionally prevent first responders from getting to areas where help is urgently needed.

In other locations, trains that are frequently longer than 2 miles (3.2 km) can block crossings for hours, preventing people from getting to certain parts of towns and forcing them to attempt the risky act of climbing through trains that could suddenly start moving.

“We see countless stories of people who are unable to arrive at work on time, goods that are prevented from getting to where they need to be, and first responders that are delayed by these trains that can be slowed or stopped — even seeing images of children having to crawl between or under freight trains in order to get to school,” U.S. Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, said In one instance Buttigieg cited, a Texas mother called 911 to report that her 3-month-old baby was in trouble, but an idle train delayed the ambulance’s arrival, and the child died two days later at the hospital.

Approximately 2,000 collisions at railroad crossings are reported annually, in addition to issues with obstructed crossings.

The most recent death toll was close to 250.

In an effort to save costs, the major freight railroads have revamped their operations in recent years to rely on fewer, longer trains.

This allows them to use fewer workers and locomotives.

Despite the railroads’ claims to the contrary, authorities and Congress are closely examining their operations in the wake of several recent high-profile derailments.

Furthermore, the issues at train crossings have a long history.

These awards represent a portion of the $3 billion in money granted for these rail crossing projects as part of the $1 trillion infrastructure program, which will be distributed over the course of the following five years.

Buttigieg has announced that he will travel to Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Monday to highlight a $30 million award that is funding a project that will increase hospital access close to the University of North Dakota campus.

Houston has the second-highest number of rail crossing fatalities in the country, and a grant worth roughly $37 million will help remove four of them.

The four new underpasses that will be constructed will increase pedestrian security and lessen automobile congestion.

An area of Fostoria, Ohio, known as the Iron Triangle because it is surrounded by train tracks on three sides, will benefit from a $7.2 million award to help with access improvements.

The town is traversed by a CSX train approximately every 26 minutes, and warning sirens at the crossings sound for at least two hours each day.

To create a secure entrance to the neighborhood, a new bridge will be constructed over the railroad tracks on one side of the community.

States and localities are required to pay at least 20% of the project costs in each of these grants, perhaps with assistance from the railroads.


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