Transportation Bill Funds Safety Improvements at Deadly Rail Crossings
WASHINGTON, DC – Following Elmwood Park upgrades, bill funds upgrades for other dangerous rail crossings [December 1, 2015]
Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) released the following statement on the bipartisan agreement to move the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act – a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill which includes many key provisions approved by the House and Senate.
“This bill increases funding levels for these deadly crossings, as I advocated for,” Pascrell said today. “This is a critical issue. We need better design and engineering to ensure the crossings are safe – and that requires funding.”
The FAST Act includes several provisions to improve the safety of highway-rail grade crossings, including grade crossing safety action plans, a private grade crossing study, and an evaluation on the use of locomotive horns at grade crossings. Additionally, the Act includes requirements to strengthen the safety of passenger rail, including locomotive recording devices, speed limit 15 action plans, and locomotive alerters.
Earlier this year, Pascrell sought funding for a deadly rail crossing at Midland Avenue in Elmwood Park which had been the site of 29 accidents and two deaths since 1975. The work began at the end of March at an estimated cost of $800,000, with $300,000 coming from federal funds and $500,000 paid for by the state. The Elmwood Park crossing was identified as one of the most dangerous in the country prior to the safety upgrades this year. Three other Bergen county rail crossings were also identified by a New York Times analysis this year.
“It’s important that we direct our resources to dangerous areas like Elmwood Park. We can study the areas, make improvements, and save lives,” Pascrell said. “Under this bill, this sort of hornet’s nest can be avoided before lives are lost.”