Maloney introduces rail safety legislation

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney | The Office of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
In response to the deadly collision between a Metro-North commuter train and an SUV in Valhalla, New York, on Feb. 3, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) introduced legislation aimed at improving safety at railroad crossings.

If enacted, the Rail Crossings Safety Improvement Act would reauthorize the Rail Line Relocation & Improvement Capital Grant Program at $100 million per year during the next four years. The grant program ideally will allow states and localities to relocate rail lines in order to improve the safety of grade crossings.

“Safety is our first priority, and unfortunately incidents at rail crossings are all too common in New York," Maloney, whose district incorporates the Hudson Valley, said. "That is why it is crucial that we invest in positive train control and improve safety at grade crossings immediately."

Along those lines, Maloney also called for congressional passage of another bill he introduced, the Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act, which would allow commuter services and freight rail systems to apply for federal loans and loan guarantees to fund investments in positive train control systems for existing railways.

The congressman cited Federal Railroad Administration figures showing that in New York there are 5,304 grade crossings, and that 15 people died and 23 were injured in 81 accidents that occurred statewide from 2012 through 2014.

Six people died in the Valhalla crash on Feb. 3, including the driver of the SUV and five train passengers.

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