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Perlmutter Amendment to Evaluate Effectiveness of Train Horn Use Advances
Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) successfully authored an amendment to H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) 2005 rule on the use of locomotive horns at rail crossings.
“It's time to update and modernize train horn regulations to allow flexibility for new technologies and innovations,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “Establishing a Quiet Zone can take years of work and cost millions of dollars delaying important safety investments in our communities.”
While the rule also allows municipalities to establish "Quiet Zones," the requirements for creating a Quiet Zone are rigid, cost prohibitive and time consuming. Rep. Perlmutter hopes by requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the train horn rule, the rule can be updated to find a balance between public safety and providing communities flexibility to establish Quiet Zones.
“This is an important issue for my constituents who feel train horn noise is a nuisance and stifles economic development by discouraging businesses and housing developers from building and locating in the heart of their communities. I’m hoping the GAO study will provide valuable insight on how the FRA can update train horn requirements when communities invest in certain safety enhancements installed at crossings including barriers, warning signals, and other features to keep the public safe,” continued Perlmutter.
Last year, Rep. Perlmutter successfully advocated for the establishment of a new Quiet Zone in Commerce City. The City of Arvada also recently announced four planned railway-crossing improvements to establish Quiet Zones. According to a story published in the Denver Post last week, the city has been in discussions with the FRA “for more than five years…on getting the quiet zones approved.”
The proposed GAO report will help Congress better analyze the effectiveness of the Train Horn Rule and work with FRA to improve the ability for cities to continue investing in railway crossing safety and improve our communities.