House Subcommittee Examines Safety Issues of Rail Crossings

SEPTEMBER 30, 2005 - Posted at 7:51 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A house panel is looking at ending a railroad fuel tax exemption as a way to fund safety enhancements at rail crossings.

The exemption saves railroads four cents per gallon on fuel.  Ending the exemption would generate close to $5 million.  But members of a House subcommittee heard objections from a railroad executive who says other less costly safety measures can be put in place.

DeQueen and Eastern Railroad Company executive J.D. Ventreck says railroads would pay $5 million more per year in maintenance costs alone if all of Arkansas' railroad crossings were updated with more crossing arms.

Representative Johnnie Bolin of Crossett has proposed a legislative study to determine how to pay for gates and warning signals.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)