While the prospect of getting changes made faded with the recent shutdown of the federal government, Colorado’s U.S. senators have continued to seek changes regarding railroad crossing quiet zones.
In a letter late last month, Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet pressed the Federal Railroad Administration to work with Commerce City and swiftly review that city’s application to establish a new railroad crossing quiet zone.
The new quiet zone, located on 96th Avenue, would be the fifth for the city.
“The city is waiting for a determination on its waiver application to create a fifth quiet zone using a wayside horn system in combination with other safety features such as crossing arms, bells and flashing lights,” Udall and Bennet wrote in the letter. “It is our understanding that many other communities around the country have already used wayside horn systems as one part of an accident prevention system, and that they have proven a safe solution for municipalities where traditional measures to achieve a quiet zone status may not be feasible. We ask that you give the waiver application submitted by Commerce City every appropriate consideration consistent with all applicable laws and regulations.”
In a release from the senators, Udall and Bennet proclaimed their commitment 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.”
The letter to the Federal Railroad Administration comes on the heels of the successful amendment of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which requires that the Federal Railroad Administration work with Colorado communities to find ways to make its rules for establishing railroad crossing quiet zones less burdensome.
Pressure from Udall and Bennet prompted 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.