Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, on Monday, sent a letter to Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose regarding the recent increase in train blockages and resulting safety concerns in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. In the letter, Rep. Sewell requested a follow-up meeting with Administrator Bose and emphasized the need for railroad companies to be held accountable.
The letter reads in part, “As you know, blocked crossings create extended delays for commuters, hinder emergency vehicle access to neighborhoods, and create an unacceptable safety risk for residents trying to find alternative routes around the blocked crossings. This is unacceptable… We must all do more to reduce the frequency and length of blocked crossings until we can implement a long-term solution. Moreover, the rail companies must be held accountable as the federal government invests billions of dollars to modernize America’s rail systems.”
Rep. Sewell has been working closely with federal, state, and local partners to identify and implement long-term solutions to the train blockages impacting Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. In November 2021, after hearing concerns from local officials and community members, Rep. Sewell sent a letter to Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose and an additional letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg inviting them to see firsthand how blockages impact the community. In response to the letter, Administrator Bose met with Rep. Sewell in November 2021, and participated in a productive discussion with local officials in January 2022. In October 2022, Sewell welcomed Administrator Boseto Alabama to meet with local officials and explore solutions to the blocked railroad crossings. The City of Birmingham recently received an $800,000 federal Reconnecting Communities planning grant to increase safety and reconnect neighborhoods that have been divided by rail tracks for generations.
Sewell also helped secure key provisions in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address train blockages.
Read the full letter here.