FRA Red Tape, Costly Upgrades Hamper Communities' Efforts to Spur Economic Development, Improve Residents' Quality of Life
Following months of pressure and numerous requests on behalf of Colorado communities, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall welcomed the Federal Railroad Administration's recent decision to review its train noise rules and consider how to cut red tape and make the required train-crossing upgrades more affordable for local taxpayers. The reassessment of the agency's rules, noted at the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee's Oct. 31 meeting, will give Colorado communities an important opportunity to weigh in as early as Spring 2014.
Bennet and Udall pressed the Federal Railroad Administration in a recent letter to reopen its rules and give Colorado communities the flexibility they need to confront train noise — which can hurt businesses and residents near crossings — and protect public safety.
"The FRA's decision to reevaluate their regulations on train horns is encouraging news to local communities. This step demonstrates some Colorado common sense, balancing safety concerns with the desire to revitalize urban areas, promote economic growth, and generally have reasonable peace and quiet," Bennet said. "We look forward to continuing to work with federal and local officials to develop a responsible solution that will better support these communities."
"I have long argued that the Federal Railroad Administration's train-noise rules, while well intentioned, were not working for Colorado communities that want to spur economic development and protect residents' quality of life," Udall said. "The Federal Railroad Administration's promise to reassess its rules and seek input from Colorado communities is a win for local taxpayers and a welcomed result of how clear Coloradans and I were with the agency that these rigid rules were a problem. I urge local leaders and residents to engage in this upcoming rule-review process and help chart a sensible path 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 Bennet and Udall 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. Bennet and Udall 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.