Kansas’ US Sen. Moran leading charge on bill to improve railroad crossings

Capitol Bureau

OLATHE, Kan. (WDAF) — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan) is leading a bipartisan effort to address long wait times at thousands of railroad crossings in the metro region and all across the nation.

“Many Kansans have experienced the frustration of waiting at a blocked railroad crossing, and in some cases, this interruption can be much more damaging than a delayed arrival home,” Moran said.

“Whether you are a first responder answering a call or a rancher transporting livestock, blocked railroad crossings can become costly or even hazardous barriers for road traffic. This legislation allows the Federal Railroad Administration to continue collecting important data on blocked railroad crossings to make certain our roads are safe and efficient for travel.”

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) joined with Moran to introduce legislation to identify and address blocked railroad crossings.

“There are more than 200,000 highway-railroad crossings across this country,” Fischer said. “When trains block these crossings, it can cause major inconveniences and even delay first responders. My legislation would ensure the collection of data on blocked crossings to help Congress develop policies that will make America’s roads safer and more convenient.”

“We’ve got to do a better job ensuring that our highway-railroad crossings aren’t blocking critical routes for emergency responders or causing significant delays or traffic,” Tester said. “In order to do that, Congress  needs better data on these blocked crossings so that we can make our highways safer, more efficient, and get people where they need to go a lot faster, and this bipartisan bill will do just that.”

In December 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration posted its Blocked Crossing Incident Reporter portal through which the public and law enforcement could report blocked grade crossings to the agency.

This legislation would authorize the FRA’s blocked crossing portal as a three-year pilot program, ensuring data collection continues. The FRA would be required to analyze submissions to the portal based on key criteria and provide an analysis to Congress.

By authorizing the blocked crossing portal and examining the results, Congress can better understand the scope and severity of blocked crossings and develop targeted, effective policy to address them.

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