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Shurden Files Measure To Allow Local Control Of Rail Speeds

OKLAHOMA CITY - A measure giving municipalities and County Commissioners the ability to set speed limits for trains at local rail crossings will soon be heard in the state Legislature, Senator Frank Shurden announced today.

Senate Bill 270 would allow towns and cities to set speed limits in incorporated areas and County Commissioners to set them for unincorporated crossings as long as the new limit is above 25 miles per hour.

Currently rail speed limits are set by the Federal Railroad Administration in Washington, D.C.

"Right now trains travel through rural communities at 55 to 65 miles per hour," said Shurden, D-Henryetta. "This just isn't safe and this bill will allow local communities to deal with the problem."

Shurden said if the measure becomes law, he expects the federal government and railroad interests to challenge it.

"This is a state's rights issue. It may challenge federal authority but people's lives are at stake," he said. "By giving local authorities, who drive through these crossings everyday and know their communities better than anyone in Washington, the authority to set local speed limits, we can make Oklahoma a safer place to live and work."

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Contact info
Senate Communications Division (405) 521-5605 1998