As safety equipment stands idle at dormant railroad crossings, Ohioans question why the state does not recycle

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Rail Crossing

If it cannot be used here, reuse it somewhere else.

Across the state of Ohio there are dormant tracks with operating safety equipment at crossings. Crossing gates and lights sit with nothing to do, and officials and residents now want to see them moved to crossings that currently do not have safety equipment.

The Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) says it can cost up to $300,000 to put lights and gates on a passive crossing.

Ohio railroad safety expert Bob Comer believes this is tax money wasted every year, and is questioning why state and federal officials will not move used safety equipment to another crossing in need.

The ORDC and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) say they can work a contract to move gates and lights from a closed crossing, but cannot order railroad companies to recycle the equipment to another site. PUCO adds the Federal Railroad Administration prohibits the reuse of safety equipment on federally funded projects.

Comer wants to see change at both the federal and state level, and says where there are crossing gates and lights the chance of a train vs. car accidents drop 90 percent.

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