For Minnesota's most dangerous rail crossings $45 million every yearStaff writer ▼ | March 13, 2015
Seventy-five railway safety projects at Minnesota's most dangerous and congested rail crossings would be completed statewide, if a proposal from Governor Mark Dayton is passed this session.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proposed:
Governor Dayton's railway safety proposal would invest $330 million over the next ten years in the construction of safer railroad crossings across Minnesota, and provide additional bonding dollars to fund four major grade separations in Coon Rapids, Moorhead, Prairie Island, and Willmar.
The plan would implement new quiet zones in communities located along busy rail lines, provide better training for emergency managers and first responders, and hire a new Rail Office Director who would position the state to play a larger role in addressing freight rail service and safety issues throughout the state.
If passed, Governor Dayton's plan would also provide local governments the resources they need to respond to local infrastructure needs caused by increased railway traffic.
By modernizing property taxes paid by railroads, the proposal would provide $45 million every year for cities, counties, and townships to fund their own local priority rail infrastructure improvements. A comprehensive list of how much new railway safety funding each city, county, and township would receive under the Governor's plan is available online.
"Over the last year, I have traveled across Minnesota and seen firsthand the very serious and costly challenges that increased rail traffic have thrust upon our communities," said Governor Dayton.
"Minnesotans did not cause these disruptions; they are not responsible for the endless barrage of dangerous cargo being shipped through their communities every day. The railroads responsible for these problems have a responsibility to pay for these essential safety improvements." ■