COLUMBUS, OHIO (Aug. 13, 2019) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) this week filed comments with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding its proposed information collection request for blocked railroad crossings.
“They cause inconveniences at the local level and also result in serious safety concerns as local fire, law enforcement and emergency medical responses can be delayed or, worse, completely prevented from responding to emergencies,” said PUCO.
The PUCO’s comments support the FRA’s proposal to collect information from the public regarding the frequency, location and impacts of highway-rail grade crossings blocked by slow-moving or idling trains. The proposed data collection efforts will provide the tools required by transportation professionals to analyze the problem and propose solutions.
Additionally, the PUCO’s comments recommend the FRA find ways to expand the scope of its proposed collection activities and explore providing real-time or anticipated blocked crossing data to local and state EMS, fire and law enforcement officials.
The PUCO’s comments in response to FRA ICR 84 FR 27832 can be found on the PUCO website.
The FRA proposes to implement a reporting form on its website and mobile apps to allow the public to report instances of blocked railroad crossings. The FRA would also create a dedicated portal for law enforcement to submit information about blocked railroad crossings.
The PUCO has no authority over blocked rail crossings. However, the PUCO began collecting blocked crossing information on behalf of the FRA in 2017. Information submitted to the PUCO is forwarded to the FRA. Since the PUCO began collecting blocked crossing reports in 2017, 947 reports have been filed. Ohioans can continue to report blocked rail crossings on the PUCO website. The link to this website to report blocked railroad crossings is here: https://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco-forms/report-blocked-crossings-to-federal-railroad-administration/