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Hall Defends Constituents with Bill to Stop Railroad Companies from Blocking Crossings

October 26, 2021
Thomas Hall News

State Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.) testified earlier today on House Bill 361, which is a bipartisan bill that seeks to stop railroad companies from blocking crossings. Hall is a joint sponsor of the legislation alongside State Rep. Jessica Miranda.

“I have with me today logs and information that were provided to me by people from my district of blocked crossings,” said Hall. “One instance just took place two weeks ago, with a family being blocked for over 60 hours due to a train waiting for a new crew. These are people trying to do the simple things, like take their kids to school or sports, get home from work or run to the store - all not being able to because of the blocked crossings they encounter.”

Hall noted during his testimony that he has heard from many residents within his district about the concerns of this ongoing issue. Hall sought to meet with local officials and the county engineer before resorting to introducing a bill.

“As someone who has a railroad in their backyard, I am not here today to object to the railroads purpose, but I am here today as a voice for the many residents in my district alone who face this issue on almost a daily basis,” Hall added. “I am here today to stand with the people from all across Ohio who face this problem and if I say it once I will say it again, I am here today to find solutions to this matter as I am remised to have to go down this legislative route to get the railroads attention.”

Under House Bill 361, it will require railroad companies that block crossings to submit an incident report to the PUCO. The PUCO will then compile an annual incident report that is to be shared with the Ohio General Assembly. The increased penalties include:

  • $5,000 fine for the first violation within a thirty-day period
  • Current law is $1,000 per incident
    • $10,000 fine for any subsequent violation within a thirty-day period

Today’s hearing was the first for House Bill 361 and awaits further consideration in the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

To view Hall’s full testimony, watch here.