WFMZ 69 News, Jack Reinhard
BERKS COUNTY, Pa. - Around $16 million worth of federal grant money is coming to Berks County to make rail crossings safer.
According to Sen. Bob Casey (D), Sen. John Fetterman (D), and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-4th District), the funding will help to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and trains at 10 crossings between Boyertown and Pottstown.
Dean said concerns about rail crossings often come up among her constituents.
"It's an exciting opportunity coming to us from the success we had in legislating the last Congress around infrastructure," she said.
Police in Amity Township said in January a couple escaped from a car before a train slammed into it.
"We know that we have many, many crossing accidents in this country," Dean said. "And this is a rail line —an old rail line that carries passengers as well as toxic hazardous material."
Carol Bolig and Jeffrey Brunner live down the road from the Philadelphia Avenue railroad crossing in Boyertown — one of the crossings between Boyertown and Pottstown expected to benefit from the federal grant money.
"The crossings do need to be improved, but I'm also worried about the amount of traffic that comes down through here," Brunner said.
"When these trucks and cars go over the railroad tracks, they go kind of fast, so I think that needs to be fixed, too," Bolig said.
Casey said the grant will eliminate one-road level rail crossing, improve safety protections at six other road-level crossings and raise three bridges to improve visibility at three existing road-separated rail crossings across the county.
"Not just for this railroad, but for all rail crossings in general need to be a lot safer," Brunner said.
The grant program is through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
According to Casey, the Redevelopment Authority in Berks County will provide a 20% match for the program.
"This is a sign of us wisely investing in America," Dean said.
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