Train Traffic - Who pays to upgrade grade-level crossings to overpasses or underpasses?
The decisions to build streets or highways at grade-level with the tracks were not made by the railroads but by the owners of the roadways crossing the track at any given location. In most cases that is a city or county.
When most communities built roads across rail lines, they had the option of building an overpass or underpass over, or under, the track. Most chose the less expensive option, which was to build the road at grade level with the tracks. Unfortunately, that leaves motorists in potential conflict with trains.
One of the great benefits of the federal interstate system is that there is not a single at-grade rail crossing on it. We are very much in favor of cities, counties and states pursuing similar improvements in public mobility for their roads and highways.
BNSF has a proactive program to help eliminate crossings on our track which actually pays communities to close crossings. They are free to use those dollars as they see fit.
In addition, in cases where construction of an overpass or underpass results in the closure of a crossing with gates and lights on it the railroad involved is obligated by the federal government to pay for a portion (5 percent) of the construction of that overpass or underpass.
However, the decision to pursue such projects must be made by the owner of the road involved, not the railroad.
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