St. Clair Commission sends letter of concern to Norfolk Southern Railroad

By GARY HANNER, Home staff writer

ASHVILLE – The St. Clair County Commission asked county attorney James Hill III on Tuesday to draft a letter to Norfolk Southern Railroad concerning the accident that took place at the intersection of U.S. 78 and Trails End Lane on Oct. 7.

The accident involved an Amtrak train. A Leeds woman, driving a F-150 Ford pickup truck, was killed after she attempted to go around the crossing bars and was struck by the train.

Commissioner Ken Crowe wants Hill to send the letter to Norfolk to “voice our concerns” over what happened.
“We all know that Norfolk Southern Railroad is in control,” Commission Chairman Paul Manning said. “They call the shots when it comes to their crossings. Our people pay the price. We feel for those families involved in the accident.”

Hill said residents may not know the local government has no control over railroad crossings.

“They are all governed by federal regulations, federal government and railroad,” Hill said. “They don’t take direction from us. We can’t go and insert a claim to govern or regulate that crossing or any other crossing.

“But we can certainly send them a letter and voice our concerns and hope they will take actions necessary to protect other citizens as best that can be.”

In other business, the commission;

— Approved a resolution to enter into public transportation contracts with the ARC and M4A for FY16;

— Approved the final FY15 budget amendments. Chief Financial Officer Donna Wood said some of these expenses would be paid in the FY16 budget;

— Approved county holidays for 2016. The holidays are in conjunction with state holidays;

— Appointed property Manager Harold Hoyle as ADA coordinator; and

— Approved the payment of regular bills.