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Dingell Convenes MDOT, Community & State Leaders on Urgent Need to Address Train Crossings in SE Michigan

Dearborn, MI, July 19, 2019

DEARBORN, MI – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) in conjunction with her colleagues Representatives Haley Stevens, Rashida Tlaib, and Tim Walberg, brought together Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Paul Ajegba and his team, Southeast Michigan Mayors and public safety officials, railroad representatives, and local business leaders to discuss the urgent need to work together to face significant challenges at a number of railroad crossings in Western Wayne and Monroe Counties.

Photos from the event are available here.

As a manufacturing hub of world, Michigan depends on a strong rail transportation system. There are numerous sites in Southeast Michigan that trains have blocked roadways, at times for hours, causing a nuisance for residents and delays public safety response times.

“Lives are at risk because trains are blocking crossings for too long. We must improve safety and efficiency at these crossings while also having a system that works for the efficient transportation of goods via rail,” said Dingell. “That’s why we’re all gathered here. To send a powerful message that we are all in the same room trying to figure this out. It is essential that we develop a plan that has everyone on the same page, rowing in the same direction that helps address every community’s issues. These problems impact us all, and we need a plan that helps all of us.”

“MDOT officials appreciate our Congressional representatives for calling together state and local leaders to address the delays and inconvenience for commuters at railroad crossings across the state,” said Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “We will continue to work with our partners including the Federal Highway Administration to find creative solutions.”

“I would first like to say that SAFETY is first for our residents in our community and surrounding communities. I believe that by meeting with the railroad corporations, the communities involved along with our first responders, we can and will find solutions to our continuing issues that could be life threatening to our residents,” said Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack.

“Our Downriver community has consistently struggled with poor train crossings upkeep and grade separation issues for years. These problems create wear and tear on our vehicles, cause significant delays around the area, and affect first responders’ ability to get to places quickly. As a member of the House Transportation Committee for the past two sessions, I was glad to see that we are gathering all of the involved parties together and working through these concerns. Building a coalition takes time, but it must get done,” said Michigan State Representative Cara Clemente.

“Thank you to Congresswoman Dingell for bringing us all together to discuss these important issues so that we can make transportation better for all our residents,” said Jim Perry, Executive Director, Downriver Community Conference.

Next, the committee agreed to establish a working group to address both short-term and long-term issues to be led by MDOT Director Ajegba, Michigan Railroad Association President Jon Cool, Dingell, and other representatives. The group will reconvene in a month.  

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