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FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES PUBLIC HEARINGS IN ILLINOIS AND OHIO CONCERNING USE OF LOCOMOTIVE TRAIN HORNS AT HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSINGS

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FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES PUBLIC HEARINGS IN ILLINOIS AND OHIO CONCERNING USE OF LOCOMOTIVE TRAIN HORNS AT HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSINGS

Federal Railroad Administration
March 31, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 31, 2000
Contact: Pamela Barry
Telephone: 202-493-6024
FRA 8-00

Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene M. Molitoris today announced that there will be a public hearings in Illinois and Ohio on a proposed rulemaking and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) concerning the use of locomotive train horns at highway-rail grade crossings.

This hearing will give the public an opportunity to provide oral presentations on the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and DEIS.

Listed below are the four scheduled public hearings in Illinois and Ohio.

Tuesday, April 25, 2000             Lyons Township High School
12 noon                                         South Campus
                                                        The Little Theater
                                                        4900 Willow Springs Road
                                                        Western Springs, Ill.

Wednesday, April 26, 2000        The Field Museum of Natural History
9 a.m.                                         James Simpson Theater
                                                        1400 South Lake Shore Drive
                                                        Chicago

Thursday, April 27, 2000        Federal Aviation Administration
9 a.m.                                         The Minnesota Room2300 East Devon Avenue
                                                        Des Plaines, Ill.

Monday, May 1, 2000
                Baldwin-Wallace College
6 p.m.                                         Kleist Center for Art and Drama
                                                        95 East Bagley Road
                                                        Berea, Ohio

The agency is also holding public hearings in California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Oregon.

FRA officials stressed that persons wishing to provide oral testimony at the public hearings should notify FRA’s docket clerk at the following mailing address or e-mail address at least three working days before the hearing: Docket Clerk, Office of Chief Counsel, Federal Railroad Administration MS-10, 1120 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. The e-mail address for the FRA docket clerk is renee.bridgers@fra.dot.gov

The rule, proposed in January by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FRA, was written in response to a law enacted by Congress in 1994 requiring train horns be sounded when a train approaches and enters a public highway-rail grade crossing unless. Congress gave FRA the authority to exempt categories of rail operations or categories of highway rail grade crossing if there is not a significant risk of death or personal injury, the use of the horn is impractical, or supplementary measures fully compensate for the absence of the warning provided by the horn.

The proposed rule describes the safety measures that a community may employ to fully compensate for the absence of the warning provided by the horn and establish a quiet zone. These measures include the use of four quadrant gates, channelization devices or crossing closures at highway-rail crossings or photo enforcement to deter violators. The rule also proposes an upper volume limit for train horns.

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