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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT awards rail safety grants to North Dakota, Wisconsin


Senators from Wisconsin and North Dakota recently announced U.S. Department of Transportation grants have been awarded to their states to pay for safety improvements along rail lines carrying energy products.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) announced the Wisconsin Department of Transportation was awarded $3 million in rail safety grants for the safe transportation of energy products. The projects will improve rail lines in Waukesha County that carry crude oil, according to a Baldwin press release.

In October 2015, Baldwin wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting the funds to install safety measures on a Canadian Pacific corridor near the cities of Oconomowoc, Oconomowoc Lake, Hartland and Pewaukee. The section of rail also is part of Amtrak's Empire Builder Route.

The project improvements would include enhanced signage and pavement markings, installation of raised medians or four-quadrant gates at rail crossings. Train detection circuitry also will be upgraded, according to Baldwin.

"I have been sounding the alarm for two years on the need to put in place strong rail safety protections and am proud to announce this critical investment in Wisconsin’s rail infrastructure," said Baldwin in the press release.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) announced more than $1 million in rail safety grants have been awarded to the North Dakota Department of Transportation to upgrade crossings on the state's energy corridor.

The funds will be used to install active warning signals at five locations.

"We've been working hard to maintain and improve our state's infrastructure, especially our railways," said Hoeven in a press release. "This funding will go towards upgrading grade crossings, which will improve rail safety and allow us to continue building an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan for our nation."

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More News from 2/17/2016