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S. 532 (114th): Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 23, 2015.

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act of 2015

This bill authorizes appropriations for FY2016-FY2019 for the highway safety improvement program, with $50 million set aside for each fiscal year for the Railway-Highway Crossings Program.

The limitation to three states per year is eliminated, so all states now become eligible for the award of Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety improvement grants to develop or continue enhanced public education and awareness activities, in combination with targeted law enforcement, to reduce traffic law violations at highway-rail grade crossings, as well as to prevent and reduce injuries and fatalities along railroad rights-of-way. The limitation on grant amounts awarded to a state is increased from $250,000 to $2.5 million.

Eligibility requirements are revised for the award of capital grants to states under the rail line relocation and improvement program.

Increased appropriations under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 are authorized for FY2016-FY2019 for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to make grants to the Operation Lifesaver program.

The FRA shall hire:

16 full-time grade crossing safety managers to work with state and local officials to identify safety improvements to highway-rail grade crossings; and 8 trespass prevention managers to work with local governments, schools, businesses, and railroads to develop site-specific mitigation plans. The Secretary of Transportation shall study the feasibility of requiring railroads to provide additional means for the public to report problems at highway-rail grade crossings, including via a website and text messaging.