Photo: David Wilson (Flickr)
Indiana’s most dangerous rail crossings could soon receive safety upgrades thanks to a new law which provides $10 million to improve crash-prone rail intersections.
The infrastructure funding legislation enacted last week by Gov. Eric Holcomb requires the Indiana Department of Transportation to develop a way to measure which rail crossing needs to be fixed first.
Republican state Rep. Ed Soliday of Valparaiso says it’s obvious where the work is needed most.
“The majority of heavy congestion, at-risk crossings are in Northwest Indiana,” Soliday said.
Indiana is ranked nearly worst in the nation for most rail crossing fatalities.
“This is just the beginning of dealing with our at-grade crossing issues,” Soliday said.
The law will also raise fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees to pay for road and bridge construction. Soliday said he expects to see road repairs take priority before work on the railroad intersections begins.
Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield said the department will identify construction projects over the coming months.
The transportation agency is soliciting applications from local governments for state matching funds to support local road construction projects.
A provision of the law allows municipalities that share jurisdiction over a road or bridge to combine their requests in an effort to secure a larger grant.
Soliday said since northwest Indiana communities generally run into each other, this option could bring more state money for local projects if cities, towns and counties choose to work together.