June 12, 2021
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Operation Lifesaver, Inc., and the Federal Highway Administration recently issued $200,000 in grants to help fund a variety of rail-grade crossing safety public education projects in 11 states – many conducted September 20-26 in conjunction with the nonprofit safety group’s observance of Rail Safety Week.

[Above photo by the NTSB]

Funded by FHWA, those grants are going to Operation Lifesaver organizations in ArizonaCaliforniaIndianaKansas, MinnesotaNorth CarolinaNew YorkPennsylvaniaSouth CarolinaTennessee and Washington.

Those state programs will use those grants to launch public awareness campaigns and host community events that deliver critical rail safety tips to target audiences, including motorists of all ages and professional drivers.

Rachel Maleh

“OLI is grateful for our ongoing safety partnership with FHWA, which facilitates these grant-funded railroad crossing safety efforts by state Operation Lifesaver programs,” said Rachel Maleh, the group’s executive director, in a statement. “We are excited to see the results of the projects as we work to stop track tragedies.”

“The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to putting safety first, including the safety of those traveling across railroad crossings,” added Stephanie Pollack, FHWA’s acting administrator. “The FHWA is pleased to provide the funding that will help prevent crashes at rail-grade crossings nationwide.”

Improving rail-grade crossing safety is also the focus of proposed Congressional legislation.

Key members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation introduced legislation on April 29 that seeks to provide $500 million annually for five years to improve safety and reduce congestion at railroad crossings.

That bill – authored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the committee’s chair, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. – noted that incidents at railroad crossings account for about 30 percent of all rail-related fatalities. That is why they said their bill seeks to help states, cities, and tribal authorities fund grade-crossing separation projects as well as other track relocation projects to improve safety or reduce traffic congestion.

editor@aashto.org

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