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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Gov. Kasich vetoes crossing maintenance provision in Ohio budget bill

On Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a transportation budget bill into law that funds the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for fiscal-year 2014, renames the Ohio Turnpike Commission the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, and authorizes the commission to issue additional bonds for eligible infrastructure projects.

But he also vetoed a budget provision pertaining to grade crossing maintenance. The provision would have authorized ODOT to provide $7.5 million per fiscal year to help reimburse railroads for the cost to maintain crossings on their rights of way.

The measure would have shifted the responsibility for routine crossing maintenance from railroads to the state, "thereby diverting limited transportation resources from much-needed highway projects across the state," wrote Kasich in his veto statement.

"Vetoing this item does nothing to reduce safety as this provision addresses maintenance for the purpose of maintaining travel comfort, not traveling safety," he wrote. "The state has a robust program for addressing safety concerns at railroad crossings, which consists of a coordinated effort of ODOT, the Ohio Rail Development Commission and the Public Utilities Commission."

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More News from 4/4/2013