FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATOR PARTICIPATES IN CONGRESSIONAL MEETING ON HIGHWAY-RAIL CROSSING SAFETY
Federal Railroad Administration
April 19, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 19, 1999
Contact: Pamela Barry
MANASSAS, Va..-- Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene Molitoris today joined U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf at a community meeting in Manassas, Va., to discuss highway-rail grade crossing safety.
"Record levels of investment are bringing about improved rail safety, demonstrating President Clinton’s leadership and emphasis on safety as the highest transportation priority," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater said. "We need to do more by continuing to work with state and local officials to increase state and local investment and enforcement on grade crossings."
In fiscal 1999, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provided $154.8 million to states to be used exclusively for highway-rail crossing improvements or elimination. An additional $314.8 million of funding for hazard elimination also may be used for eliminating or improving grade crossings. As part of TEA-21, Virginia received $2.7 million in fiscal 1999 for highway-rail crossing improvements. In addition, $10.5 million in hazard elimination funds can be used to eliminate grade crossing hazards.
"We are conducting a series of community meetings around the country to raise awareness about the dangers of highway-rail crossings and discuss the tools available to assist Americans in reducing the risks at these crossings,"said Administrator Molitoris.
There are more than 259,000 existing highway-rail grade crossings in the United States. States and localities, working with DOT, have closed more than 33,000 such grade crossings since 1991.
Five years ago, the DOT launched a multi-faceted initiative to save lives at highway-rail grade crossings. Since 1993, there have been dramatic results -- almost 30 percent fewer highway-rail crossing collisions, 33 percent fewer highway-rail crossing fatalities and 31 percent fewer highway-rail crossing injuries.