Many railroad crossings throughout the state will soon get upgraded.
While many state agencies are making cuts and spending less, the new Railroad Commissioner says his office has a plan to pay for signal upgrades at 78 crossings throughout Wisconsin between 2009 and 2011. Roger Breske says the bad economy won't stand in the way of safe crossings.
"No, it really doesn't matter in my situation because none of the money comes out of GPR (general purpose revenue), it all comes from Federal Highway Safety money."
Among the upgrades are new 12" LED flashing lights, which are brighter, last longer and can be seen through thick fog and snow. Breske says their four-to-five year plan allows them to prioritize and to coordinate with other rail and highway projects in the area.
"We've been working really hard together with my office, the DOT (Department of Transportation) and the railroad companies to make sure that we can get these crossing ready for upgrading and that the federal money would be coming in."
According to Breske, the federal funds amount to around $200,000 per crossing. He says they're also working closely with local communities to get public hearings on the projects.