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It's Your Money: Railroad safety

Posted at: 02/15/2013 8:57 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

A driver and three of his passengers manage to get out just before their car is cut in two by a train in Macedon. This is the third "train-car crash "there in the last three years.  But News10NBC found out your tax money could help prevent that from happening again if the federal government would spend the money it promised it would spend.

This all concerns a bridge over the Erie Canal that's been closed for three years.  The project to replace it won't be funded for another two years. So, drivers have to use a railroad crossing that the police chief calls dangerous.

For the last few years, the federal government promised to increase funding for transportation projects by as much as 30 percent. But when the bill was passed last year the increase was basically zero. So it left communities like ours with dozens of projects without any money to do them. That's why we have a bridge that you can't use and a dangerous rail road crossing that you have to.

Chief John Colella, Macedon Police, said, “I am concerned. This is the third train strike we've had at this crossing. As you can tell by the grade of it it’s not a level crossing.”

And that's why it's easy to make a mistake like the driver Thursday night. Here's what happened to him. As he came up on the tracks he went too far to the left and onto the tracks instead of turning only slighting and staying on the road. The reason why this crossing has to be used is that the bridge over the Erie canal on Canandaigua Road is closed and will be for another two years.

Chief Colella said, “Once the bridge is back open, if this crossing is closed, it would be the safest thing for motorists in the town.”

The crossing is worse at night with snow and rain. Those were the conditions Thursday night when the driver drove onto the tracks. People are going to have to use that crossing until the federal government allocates money to build the bridge on Canandaigua Road. It doesn't look like that will happen for another two years.