Following decades of blocked crossings, State Reps. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) and Phil Green (R-Millington) introduced House Bills 4522, 4523 and 4524 – a bipartisan package that would create a dedicated fund within the Michigan Department of Transportation budget to build grade separations at the most troublesome rail crossings across the state.
Inspired by a successful program in Indiana, the proposed plan would allow municipalities to apply for state funding and put up 20 percent of the cost while the state would supply the other 80 percent from the local grade separation fund for approved priority projects.
“While reaching a deal for the Allen Road crossing was a huge victory for our entire Downriver community, the reality is we have so much more work to do to make sure no one is put in danger by a blocked crossing again,” said Camilleri, who helped secure state funding and negotiate a deal to build an underpass at the Allen Road rail crossing in Woodhaven last year. “That deal also really illustrates why we need this fund: the appropriation we secured from the state allowed a project that was decades in the making to become a reality. With the creation of this new fund, we can do the same thing at the most dangerous and troublesome rail crossings across our state, including potential crossings in Huron Township and Trenton.”
Camilleri and Green assert that the creation of this new fund will improve public safety while unlocking economic opportunities in areas across the state that are ripe for development.
“Fixing excessive delays at problematic railroad crossings is vital to help us get critical services to people during critical situations such as health and public safety emergencies,” said Green.
The legislation also lays out priority parameters for grade separation projects including proximity to trauma centers, manufacturing facilities, and more.