Senators to reintroduce grade crossing safety act

(Source: Progressive Railroading 03/05/19)

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced they will reintroduce a bill to fund improvements to “dangerous” grade crossings.

The announcement comes nearly a week after a fatal accident involving two MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains and a car at a crossing in Nassau County, New York. 

The senators will reintroduce and push for passage of the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act, which they had introduced during a previous Congress.

“If the federal government were to take their list of dangerous crossings and help create a process that can fund some much-needed improvements, we’d all be a lot safer,” said Schumer in a press release.

Specifically, the legislation would provide new resources to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), states and communities to make critical engineering and safety upgrades at grade crossings. The upgrades would include installation of new lights and signals, particularly at accident-prone crossings. 

In 2017, 2,105 crossing collisions killed nearly 280 people nationwide, according to FRA statistics, the senators noted.

“The awful tragedy last [week] reminds us that it is critical that the federal government do even more to research and underwrite safety upgrades at accident-prone crossings — this includes designing ways to prevent going around safety crossings, boosting public awareness of the dangers at such crossings, as well as improving reporting of dangerous problems at crossings,” Schumer added.