RAILROAD WHISTLE BAN

WHEREAS, the sounding of locomotive horns or whistles at grade crossings has been a universal safety precaution since the late 1800s; and

WHEREAS, many urban communities have been working to silence the horns due to the detrimental affects the noise pollution has on the quality of life in their communities; and

WHEREAS, the link between increased railroad crossing safety and the sounding of train horns has not been proven; and

WHEREAS, numerous communities have adopted local whistle ban ordinances, which may, for example, ban locomotives from sounding their whistles at certain hours of the night or in certain areas of the community; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would implement a statutory requirement that locomotive horns sound at every public highway-rail grade crossing unless certain criteria are met; and

WHEREAS, the safe operation of some of the proposed upgrades, has been seen as controversial; and

WHEREAS, the proximity to active rail lines where whistles are blown severely restricts the availability of federal housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and

WHEREAS, the proposed rule calls for certain safety upgrades at highway-rail grade crossing for cities to establish and maintain their existing whistle bans but provides no funding, thereby producing an unfunded mandate at a high cost to cities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Federal Railroad Administration to move quickly on the implementation of a final rule that will recognize and meet the needs of urban areas where rail activity is frequent and on the rise and facilitate the process of implementing whistle bans; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Administration to include federal funding for any final rule that is issued by the Federal Railroad Administration in order to provide local governments with the financial resources necessary to upgrade their current safety measures at street-highway-rail grade crossings if such an upgrade is deemed necessary.