U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced legislation that will provide $500 million a year for five years to improve safety and reduce congestion at railroad crossings in communities around the country.
“Communities throughout Washington state know the safety and congestion challenges posed by at-grade crossings,” Cantwell said. “Too many people are injured or killed at at-grade crossings, and the safest crossing is one that does not exist. Crossings can also delay the movement of people and goods all across the United States, hurting our competitiveness. With the volume of freight shipments projected to increase 17% by the year 2030, it is critical we act now to address this urgent infrastructure need. The legislation Senator Blunt and I are introducing today would authorize grants for state, local, and Tribal governments to eliminate at-grade crossing conflicts to improve safety and help the U.S. economy by decreasing freight congestion.”
“As a state with the 10th largest number of railroad miles in the nation, Missourians are no stranger to the safety issues and inconveniences caused by rail crossings,” Blunt said. “Getting rid of rail crossings will reduce traffic jams, improve the quality of life, and—most importantly—increase safety in communities across the state. In addition, removing crossings will increase the reliability of our rail network and strengthen Missouri’s role as a national transportation hub.”
Train passage through at-grade crossings can occupy crossings for hours at a time, separating neighborhoods and towns in two. Additionally, incidents at railroad crossings account for about 30% of all rail-related fatalities.
Grade separation projects eliminate the intersection, improving safety and mobility for the whole community. This bill authorizes $500 million annually for five years to help states, cities, and Tribes plan and construct grade crossing separation projects, as well as other track relocation projects to improve safety or reduce congestion.