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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Sens. Udall, Bennet seek easier implementation of quiet zone rules


Last week, Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced amendments to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would require the Federal Railroad Administration to work with Colorado communities to examine existing train horn rules, consider revisions to those rules and report its findings back to Congress within 180 days.

Colorado cities have had a difficult time funding the crossing upgrades required by the FRA in order to establish a quiet zone. The amendments would help make the FRA's quiet zone rules easier to implement while still protecting public safety, the senators said in a press release.

"Coloradans are frustrated that the Federal Railroad Administration's train-noise rules simply do not provide viable alternatives for communities that want to shield their downtown areas and residential neighborhoods from train noise," Udall said. "This legislation will ensure that the Federal Railroad Administration and Colorado communities can plot a viable way forward that ensures railroad crossings are safe and do not undermine our economic development or quality of life."

Udall and Bennet also have proposed an amendment that would re-appropriate a portion of $42 million in unused federal transportation funds. The U.S. Department of Transportation would issue the funds through competitive grants to help cities offset the costs of upgrades necessary to create quiet zones. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/29/2013