Transportation Reauthorization Should Bolster Grade Crossing Safety

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Leaders in Congress have made clear in that independent of action on President Joe Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” they will move forward with a large-scale reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation law. Leaders in both Chambers are aiming for late-May action, meaning stakeholders everywhere have a small window to shape the bill.

“Though a surface transportation reauthorization bill is the only must-do legislation by Sept. 30, members of both parties and both chambers of Congress expressed hopes during a March 25 briefing to NACo members that an infrastructure bill would continue to foster common ideological ground,” writes NACo’s Charlie Ban.

County leaders have no shortage of priorities, as do railroads I represent at the Association of American Railroads (AAR) – a partner of NACo. One particular area that railroads and local leaders should work together on is expanding federal funding and grant program options for improving and/or separating at-grade crossings between rail and passenger vehicle traffic. Substantive progress could reduce mostly preventable accidents and fatalities, increase mobility for motorists and in turn improve quality of life in communities.