Parson to sign bill for $50M in railroad improvements after Amtrak crash

By Makenzie Koch for

Governor Mike Parson and the Missouri Department of Transportation are set to announce a new Missouri Railroad Safety Crossing plan this week. 

On Thursday, the governor plans to sign House Bill 4, which includes $50 million in state funding to improve over 45 passive railroad crossings. 

The work comes just over one year after four people were killed and over 150 people were injured when an Amtrak train hit a dump truck at an uncontrolled railroad crossing in Mendon, Missouri. 

With that in mind, the governor’s office said the state is focusing on 47 crossings on the three rail lines that carry passenger trains in Missouri. Parson and MoDOT also plan to share results of an independent review of these rail lines.

Details about which rail crossings specifically will see improvements have not been released yet.

The state has more than 3,300 public rail crossings. MoDOT previously said about 50% of the crossings have lights and/or gates. Fewer than 500 of those crossings are managed by the state. MoDOT said just 22 of those are passive crossings without any kind of warning system.

There are also over 2,800 crossings managed by individual communities and counties. MoDOT said about 1,400 of those are considered passive crossings.

State officials will also hold a moment of silence for the victims of that 2022 Amtrak crash, including 56-year-old Kim Holsapple and 57-year-old Rochelle Cook of De Soto, 82-year-old Binh Phan of Kansas City, and 54-year-old Bill Barton II of Brookfield. 

People living in and around Mendon said they’d complained about the crossing for years. They said the crossing was steep, and it was difficult to see if a train was coming until it was too late.

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November 2023