A Florida legislator would like to make the Treasure Coast's forthcoming Brightline regional rail service less of a hazard to motorists. "The measure also sought to require private passenger-rail operations to cover the costs of installing and maintaining safety technology at crossings unless contracts are reached with local governments." Level crossings are hazardous, and level crossings at railroad tracks where train frequencies have increased, or train speeds have increased, get motorists who have been in the habit of thinking of the tracks as idle killed.
But there's local opposition to the expansion of passenger service (what is it about people in well-to-do neighborhoods, whether the Connecticut coast or Chicago's inland northern suburbs or Florida and trains?) and the request for further study or safety betterments is simply delay as the deadliest form of denial.
Passengers on trains will be safer than their counterparts on the roads. That is, provided there are passenger trains for people to use. And motorists will be at a higher risk of death on the road, whether there are additional safeguards at the level crossings, or grade separations, whether there are trains or not.
The Brightline project, perhaps because it is a private venture, has the qualified endorsement of Ramesh Ponnuru, as well as the notoriously highway-philic Robert Poole.
Never mind the ideology, the trains might be a trade-tested betterment. Mr Ponnuru: " Brightline would operate just a little too slowly to count, technically, as truly high-speed rail. But it’s the minimal public-sector involvement that sets it apart -- and the concomitant freedom to concentrate on business considerations."
Free rein to 125, forsooth!