Maloney Questions DOT Secretary on Rail Crossings
Washington – Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) questioned the Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on improving safety measures at rail grade crossing. Secretary Foxx made it clear that “there is not enough money in the system to help us [relocate and separate grade crossings] even on some of the highest danger areas,” and the Department of Transportation needs additional resources to “attack that problem as comprehensively as we need to.” In this year’s budget request, the Department of Transportation listed railroad intersections as one of the “three most pressing rail safety issues.”
“We have to act on commonsense safety measures to ensure we never repeat last week’s horrific accident. Each year, there are thousands of collisions and hundreds of deaths at rail crossings, and our local and state governments should have the resources they need to upgrade safety devices as well as potentially relocate grade crossings in high density areas,” said Rep. Maloney.
This week, Maloney also urged the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to include key rail safety measures in the upcoming Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill.
In his letter, Maloney wrote, “I believe the Committee must work to address this issue in the surface transportation reauthorization by including a rail safety title, particularly one that includes robust funding for the Railway-Highways Crossing Program, or the Section 130 program. Our Committee has a responsibility to continue improving the rail safety infrastructure, particularly in areas of high risk such as intersections with motorists.”
In New York, there are currently 5,304 grade crossings, and from 2012-2014, there were 81 accidents, 15 deaths and 23 injuries at grade crossings according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety. Last week, Maloney introduced the Rail Crossings Safety Improvement Act, to help improve safety at grade crossings. H.R. 705 will reauthorize the Rail Line Relocation & Improvement Capital Grant Program (RLR) at $100 million a year for the next four years.