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Oklahoma train crossing law ruled unconstitutional

Oklahoma train crossing law ruled unconstitutional

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OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City federal judge has permanently barred the state from enforcing a law that prevented trains from blocking streets for longer than 10 minutes.

U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin found the 2019 state law is facially unconstitutional because it runs afoul of a federal law, the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act.

“Blocked train crossings indisputably have safety implications,” the judge wrote in an order Monday. “And, certainly, a state or local government can address grade-level railroad crossing issues in a manner that does not run afoul of federal law.

“The Court does not conclude that any statute relating to blocked crossings is prohibited. But a statute that tells railroad companies how long they may stop their trains — for whatever ends — intrudes on the territory reserved to the ICCTA.”

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