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Lowey Adds Budget Amendment To Improve Grade-Crossing Safety

Rep. Nita Lowey
Rep. Nita Lowey Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) successfully included an amendment during the transportation, housing and urban development appropriations bill markup of the federal budget on Wednesday that would increase federal funding for grade-crossing improvements.

Lowey’s amendment would increase the set-aside for grade-crossing improvements included in the Highway Safety Improvement Program from $220 million to $350 million. If signed into law, state highway departments would have additional resources to make upgrades and safety improvements at dangerous railroad crossings.

“Fatal crashes and near misses in recent months make clear we simply aren’t doing enough to protect travelers at dangerous railroad crossings,” said Lowey. “With more than 250,000 public and private grade crossings around the country, we must tackle this important safety challenge with all means available. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting to protect and increase funding for rail crossing safety initiatives so we can avoid fatal accidents.”

Since the fatal Metro-North crash in Valhalla in February, Lowey has led a moment of silence on the House floor to honor the victims, and has been working with federal officials to find solutions to what has become a recurring issue in her 17th Congressional District in New York and nationwide.

Lowey has taken the following actions:

  • Asked Sarah Feinberg, acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, about effective approaches to increasing safety during a House Appropriations Committee hearing in March
  • Co-sponsored HR 705, which passed the House in March as part of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, to improve grade crossing safety
  • Spoken with National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt in February, about exploring investments in new technologies to detect objects on tracks.

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