Ohio State/Federal Funding Programs

Federal Program - Based on a priority list, which ranks the crossings in order of risk of accident. Accident formula includes number of fatalities.

There is no cost to the local community, 100% of cost is paid for with federal/state tax dollars and railroad funds. The railroads are reimbursed 100% for their participation.

CROSSBUCK/STOP SIGN ONLY CROSSINGS - “What states cannot do—once they have installed federally funded devices at a particular crossings—is hold the railroads responsible for the adequacy of those devices.” “Nothing prevents a state from revisiting the adequacy of devices installed using federal funds. States are free to install more protective devices at such crossings with their own funds or with additional federal funding.” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. Supreme Court, Norfolk Southern vs. Shanklin, April, 2000.

State Funded Program - Those crossings not eligible under the Federal Program. The cost of the project is shared between the local community, State of Ohio, and the railroad involved. Local communities can expect to pay from 30%-70% of the cost of the project. Local highway authorities must apply to the Public Utilities Commission. PUCO inspectors will evaluate crossing to determine level of funding assistance. Railroads have a 10% voluntary requirement for funding assistance, but can consider their maintenance after installation as their contribution. The Angels on Track Foundation will offer reimbursement grants to local highway authorities (with established county task force) under this program.

Consolidation Program - In 1991, the Federal Railroad Administration announced a goal to close 25% of rail-highway grade crossings in the United States. Closure projects are achieved by eliminating excess, unnecessary crossings in exchange for safety improvements at another crossings along the same corridor. Improvements such as installation of gates and lights, rubber crossings, passive signage and illumination are paid for with federal, state, and railroad funds. An agreement to permanently close a railroad grade crossing would serve as the local highway authority’s contribution to the project, with the state providing the funding for the upgrades. The railroads are free to offer other amenities to local community.

Supplemental Program - A program for safety enhancements at crossings which are waiting for state or federal funding for the installation of gates/lights or lights only, as well as those crossings that are only marked by informational crossbuck signs. The PUCO will provide up to $3,000 for physical improvements around the crossing such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage, vegetation cutback or other safety enhancements. These are interim measures while waiting for lights and gates to be installed. Funding cannot be used to install warning devices.

Q. Is the equipment used by the railroad industry periodically updated implementing modern state-of-the-art technology?
A. No. “This is a system that was built decades ago, and for most of this century has been static, even though drivers and vehicles have changed.” Eugene Russell, Dir. Center for Transportation Research and Training, Kansas State University.

The track circuit is the basic circuit controlled directly by the train to regulate the signals for following trains. In the case of railroad grade crossings, it controls the flashers or gates for automotive traffic. It is the most important link in the signal system. It is the medium of connection between the moving train and the signal or other device provided for protection. Invented by William Robinson it was first installed on a section of track in Kinsua, Pa., in 1872. It has not changed greatly since its conception.

“Despite record profits, the railroad industry has rejected safety recommendations and fought proposed safety rules, atleast a dozen recommended safety improvements that could have prevented scores of accidents have not been implemented.” U.S. News and World Report

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