Crawford Statement from Hearing on Railroad Grade Crossing Safety
Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) from today’s hearing entitled, “Tracking Toward Zero— Improving Grade Crossing Safety and Addressing Community Concerns”:
Railroad grade crossing safety, blocked crossings, railroad trespassing, and rail suicides are serious issues that affect the rail industry and many communities across America.
According to the FRA, in the last eight years, my home state of Arkansas experienced 76 total incidents due to railroad trespassing, 28 of which were fatalities.
I know that complaints of blocked grade crossings have amplified recently. I commend the FRA and Administrator Batory for recognizing this problem and taking steps to fix it.
The rail industry has invested substantially in grade crossing safety, including through the use of new technologies, community education, and other deterrents to stop trespassers and suicides on the tracks.
Today we will hear about the FRA’s recent work to better monitor blocked crossings and to improve rail crossing safety. We will also hear from railroads, state and local leaders, and other stakeholders about the problems they face with these issues, their efforts to combat them, and future needs to continue making improvements.
Finally, I note the importance of federal grants and federal funding opportunities through the Section 130 program and other grant programs that assist railroads, states and communities with grade crossing upgrades and improvements.Click here for more information, including video and witness testimony.