U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff launched an inquiry with the Federal Railroad Administration pushing for more investigation into train delays. His office credits 11Alive's investigation with informing him of the problem.
"Divided communities regularly deal with missed doctor's appointments, school tardiness, and the daily frustration of a 15-minute trip to the grocery store turning into an hour-long event," Sen. Ossoff said in a press release.
Our investigation into this issue started back in February. We found multiple communities across our area were impacted by stalled trains. This summer, we uncovered train complaints in Georgia spiked 60% this year compared to last.
It's more than an inconvenience, it's a safety hazard. These trains can block police, EMS and fire trucks responding to emergencies. The city of Griffin is just one community dealing with constant blockages.
Griffin City Manager, Jessica O'Connor, said this federal inquiry is welcome news. Currently, Griffin is dealing with stalled trains up to three times per week.
"You're talking a matter of life and death," she said. "Or, it could be because of those minutes that are ticking by as we try to figure out how to get around the train."
11Alive Investigates obtained letters from leaders in the city of Jackson, Monroe County, Henry County and more all begging Sen. Ossoff for help to end this problem on our roads.
O'Connor hopes this inquiry is the first step in doing that.
As part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) created what's called the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program. State and local officials can apply for funding that can go toward improving closures, track relocations and more.
Congress also required the FRA to create an online portal to help gather information from drivers and first responders about these blocked crossings.
Sen. Ossoff's inquiry urges the FRA to make its portal more accessible by improving the website's function and making it more language accessible.
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