MN Utilities Railroad Crossing bill passes through House and Senate

The broadband proponents seem pleased with decisions made on the Railroad Crossing Bill – it passed in the House and Senate (HF963/ SF877). Session Daily reports…

According to the bill, any utility that intends to place a facility across or upon a railroad right-of-way would need to request permission from the railroad in the form of an application that includes an engineering design showing the location of the proposed facility and the railroad’s property, tracks, and wires that the utility would cross. The Public Utilities Commission could charge a railroad and a utility for its proportionate share of expenses incurred during the review of potential petitions against a crossing. A railroad or utility that objects to an assessment has the right to appeal same as a public utility.

A railroad could also require an electric utility to conduct an inductive interference study if the facility would be an electric energy transmission line of at least 125 kilovolts.

The utility could only begin construction of a facility 35 days after application approval unless the railroad notifies the utility in writing that the proposed crossing is a serious threat to the safe operations of either the railroad company, or to the current use of the railroad tracks. Utilities would be required to pay the railroad a one-time standard fee of $1,250 for each facility prior to construction.

A utility would need commercial general liability insurance of at least $1 million for each occurrence. A utility providing natural gas service would need insurance with a limit of at least $5 million for each.

Nothing would prevent a railroad and utility from continuing an existing agreement, or from otherwise negotiating the terms and conditions applicable to a crossing.

I wrote about some of the perspectives behind the bill earlier this month.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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