U.S. Pledges Over $570M to Fix Rail Crossings, Help Stop Trains Crashing into Cars

U.S. Pledges Over $570M to Fix Rail Crossings, Help Stop Trains Crashing into Cars

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced the first round of funding to eliminate dangerous railroad crossings throughout America. The measure will go towards 63 projects in 32 states.

“Every year, commuters, residents and first responders lose valuable time waiting at blocked railroad crossings---and worse, those crossings are too often the site of collisions that could be prevented,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re improving rail crossings in communities across the country to save lives, time, and resources for American families.”

The move comes as the U.S. rail industry invests in longer and longer trains to help cut costs. In some places, they stretch more than 2 miles in length, leading to dangerous and inconvenient situations for drivers and pedestrians.

More than 2,000 collisions occur at American highway-rail grade crossings every year, the DOT reports. They resulted in nearly 250 fatalities last year, according to the Associated Press. While the rail industry insists that its strategy of reducing staff requirements by running fewer, longer trains is not dangerous, those claims have come under scrutiny following a number of highly publicized accidents in recent months.

The $570 million pledged by the U.S. as the first round of spending on Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program will go towards creating overpasses, underpasses and other measures. Such will be the case in Houston, TX, ranked as the city with the second-highest number of rail crossing deaths in America. It is receiving $37 million to fund the construction of four underpasses and the elimination four at-grade crossings.

“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program is another critical tool that FRA is using to make a lasting impact on the safety and transportation needs of communities nationwide,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “With these project selections and the many more that are to come, we will save lives and reshape infrastructure in ways that allow individuals to move through their neighborhoods seamlessly and safely.”

We thank CarScoops for reprint permission.

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