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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Metro-North accident prompts call for crossing safety legislation


U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced on Wednesday legislation that would authorize $100 million a year for the next four years to help improve safety at grade crossings.

One day after an MTA Metro-North Railroad train hit a sports utility vehicle on the track at a crossing in Westchester County, N.Y., Maloney introduced the Rail Crossings Safety Improvement Act, which would reauthorize the Rail Line Relocation and Improvement Capital Grant Program. He also called on Congress to pass the Commuter-Rail Passenger Safety Act to allow commuter and freight railroads to apply for loans and loan guarantees for positive train control systems through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing Program.

Tuesday's Metro-North accident, which remains under investigation, resulted in six fatalities, including the SUV driver.

"Safety is our first priority and unfortunately incidents at rail crossings are all too common in New York; that is why it is crucial that we invest in positive train control and improve safety at grade crossings immediately," said Maloney, whose district includes parts of Westchester.

New York is home to 5,304 crossings. Between 2012 and 2014, there were 81 accidents, 15 deaths and 23 injuries recorded at the crossings, said Maloney, citing FRA safety data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/6/2015