02.24.09

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, HIGGINS ANNOUNCE OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL INCLUDES $475,000 FOR LONG-SOUGHT RAILWAY "QUIET ZONE" THE TOWN OF HAMBURG

Funding Would Go Toward Creation of Long-Awaited Railroad Quiet Zone to Protect Quality of Life for Hamburg ResidentsBill Set to Clear Senate Next Week

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins today announced that the Omnibus appropriations bill will include $475,000 for the Town of Hamburg.   The funding would be used to design, purchase, and install supplemental safety measures at four highway grade crossings within the Town, and would designate a 4.5 mile long quiet zone along Hamburg's railroad tracks to alleviate noise from passing trains. The bill will now proceed to the House and Senate Floors as the next steps in the appropriations process. 
 
"Despite efforts by the Hamburg residents to secure a railroad Quiet Zone for their town, blaring train horns continue to disrupt their quality of life, affecting everything from a good night's sleep to local property values," said Schumer. "There is no doubt in my mind that the companies can lower the decibel level without compromising safety. It's vital that trains passing through Hamburg neighborhoods respect the peace and quiet of local residents - that's why I will fight toothandnail to see this funding through the appropriations process."
 
"Hamburg residents deserve a quiet night without compromising our public safety," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "By providing federal dollars to implement safety measures at local railroad crossings, we will finally allow Hamburg to have a quiet zone in their community. New York needs all the federal dollars we can get to help support the State's infrastructure and create jobs for our communities. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer to ensure that New York receives its fair share."
 
"We have consistently advocated for this project to be funded since first attending a community meeting several years ago and we're thrilled to finally see this move forward," said Congressman Higgins.  "Creating this quiet zone will be of enormous benefit to the Town of Hamburg, improving quality of life for those 20,000 residents residing within hearing range of the trains, as well as improving local property values.  These funds will also ensure that daily activities at Hamburg schools are not disrupted by loud train horns, all while maintaining railroad safety."   
 
While understanding the importance of railroad safety, residents of Hamburg have multiple grade crossings within densely populated areas and the constant day and night sounding of train horns has seriously threatened quality of life. The constant din is also affecting property values - proximity to a 24/7 train horn is a difficult selling point to potential homeowners. The supplemental safety measures at the grade crossings and the implementation of the quiet zone would bring some much needed relief to the residents of Hamburg.
 
The funds are proposed to be used for the design, purchase, and installation of supplemental safety measures at four highway grade crossings within the Town, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).  This will allow Hamburg to designate a quiet zone over a 4.5 mile continuous length of the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks within the Town, over which trains will not sound their horns when approaching a grade crossing.
 

The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow with the Senate set to vote next week.



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