FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Some Front Range communities say train horns are hurting business development and want Colorado’s congressional delegation to step in.
In 2005 the Federal Rail Administration passed a rule requiring engineers to sound their horns for at least 15 seconds at every crossing in the country.
“That would be like having the same speed limit for the United States no matter what the safety conditions of the road are,” said Fort Collins Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Horak.
Howard Bringham owns a restaurant at one of 10 railroad crossings in downtown Fort Collins. He says he doesn’t mind the trains, just the horns.
“If we were having this conversation when they are blowing their horns, we wouldn’t be able to. You cannot talk or hear,” said Bringham.
Horak is among a group of mayors and city managers who met with Sen. Michael Bennet to ask for help.
“This is a big issue,” said Bennet. “Whether you’re talking about a city like Fort Collins or a town like Windsor the ways to respond are very different but the hopes that people have for their communities and to be able to move them forward and develop their communities are very much the same
While the rail administration says the horns have reduced accidents, city leaders feel they are killing economic development.
“There has to be a balance between safety and the needs of local communities. What I would like to see is a rule that takes as sort of its fundamental premise the idea that a one-size-fits-all solution is not going to work,” said Bennet.
“We have five miles of track with multiple intersections going through that. To blow your horn that many times through this city does seem to be overkill,” said Bringham.
At the urging of Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall, the Federal Rail Administration will reassess the rule to maybe give the engineers more discretion.