Should railroads be taxed to help cover the costs of oil train safety improvements?

“DFL lawmakers are calling for new taxes on railroads to pay for safety improvements along the tracks traveled by oil trains,” writes MPR News political reporter Tim Pugmire.

Under one of the bills unveiled today, the state would assess large railroads up to $32.5 million a year for grade crossing safety improvements.

Today’s Question: Should railroads be taxed to help cover the costs of oil train safety improvements?

  • rst1317

    If there are dangerous grade crossings on these routes, we should work with the railroads to eliminate those. We don’t need to raise taxes for that. In fact, the proposed tax hike has no guarantees to it that it will be used just for safety improvements, if for any at all.

  • davehoug

    When a road crosses a railroad, the road came second. The cost of road protections has traditionally fallen to the city or state. The railroad maintains the crossing because they have the knowledge to detect trains approaching.

    The state can decide on its own to improve crossings anywhere, anytime. No railroad permission is needed, except to allow access.

    This is like charging farmers for the cost of improving ditches alongside their land. The cost has been on the city or state up to now.