House Committee approves train bill

A bill that could lead to railways being ticketed and fined thousands of dollars for blocking street intersections in Oklahoma won approval this week in a State House committee.

The House Transportation Committee approved House Bill 2472 by  Speaker Charles McCall of Atoka and sent it to the House for a vote.

McCall’s had no opposition in the Committee vote. His bill would give authority to law enforcement officers to write tickets to engineers whose trains block an intersection for longer than 10 minutes. Fines could reach as high as $10,000.

Some exceptions to the 10-minute limit are in the bill including one where a train is waiting on passage of a second train. McCall’s bill would give the authority also to the Corporation Commission.

“I get calls weekly about this situation in my district,” he told the committee. “We want economic development and commerce in our state but this has risen to a level to where we have to put forth a legislative solution.”

Committee members were informed by a Corporation Commission spokesman that the agency received 224 blocked crossing complaints in 2018.

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