Senate Passes Bennet, Udall Plan to Help Communities Struggling with Federal Railroad Administration Rules

Amendment Requires Federal Railroad Administration, Colorado Communities to Confer, Produce Report on How to Make Railroad Crossing Upgrades Less Burdensome to Local Taxpayers

In a victory for Colorado communities, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment from Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet to require that the Federal Railroad Administration work with Colorado communities to find ways to make its rules for establishing railroad crossing quiet zones less burdensome. The amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act would require the Federal Railroad Administration to work with Colorado communities to examine its existing train horn rules, consider revisions to those rules and report its findings back to Congress within 180 days.

"The safety of our railroad crossings is important to communities throughout Colorado. These towns want to create a peaceful environment for businesses to thrive, but the current use of train horns, and the frequently prohibitive cost of establishing quiet zones, is stifling economic development," Bennet said. "This amendment will help us review the current safety rules to better understand how communities can establish quiet zones in a way that maintains a high level of safety around these crossings. We look forward to working with the Federal Rail Administration throughout this review process."

"The Federal Railroad Administration's train-noise rules are well intentioned but are not working for Colorado communities that are trying to encourage economic development and protect residents' quality of life," Udall said. "I am confident, with everyone working together, we can protect public safety while also confronting frustrating and detrimental train-horn noise in downtown areas and residential neighborhoods. I am glad the Senate passed this common-sense amendment that will force the Federal Railroad Administration and local communities to come together to plot a way forward."

Bennet and Udall have worked tirelessly to protect public safety while also ensuring that train-noise regulations do not stifle job growth, hamper economic development or detract from Coloradans' high quality of life. Pressure from Udall and Bennet forced the Federal Railroad Administration to promise in June to work with Congress to ensure its train-noise and quiet-zone rules protect public safety while also working for Colorado communities. Udall and Bennet also have urged the Federal Railroad Administration to be more flexible in how it allows Colorado towns and cities to meet its quiet-zone requirements.