2006 Regular Session
By: Representative Davis
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 65-1-175, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO ABOLISH ANY PUBLIC ROADWAY/RAILROAD CROSSING WHEN THE DEPARTMENT DETERMINES THAT THE PUBLIC NECESSITY SERVED BY THE CROSSING DOES NOT JUSTIFY FURTHER RETENTION; TO PROVIDE THAT A PUBLIC HEARING BY THE DEPARTMENT TO ABOLISH A CROSSING SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED WHEN THE PUBLIC ROADWAY AUTHORITY IN INTEREST ABANDONS THE ROADWAY; TO RESTRICT THE AMOUNT OF COSTS THAT MAY BE ASSESSED AGAINST A RAILROAD OR ROADWAY AUTHORITY FOR CLOSING A GRADE CROSSING AND PERFORMING CERTAIN OTHER ROAD AND GRADE CROSSING IMPROVEMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 65-1-175, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-1-175. The jurisdiction of the Mississippi Department of Transportation shall be exclusive with respect to public roadway/railroad crossings either at grade or otherwise except to the extent that its jurisdiction is preempted by valid federal statute, regulation or order.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall have power, upon its own motion or upon complaint filed, after having made proper investigation, and after notice and hearing, if requested, to abolish any public roadway/railroad crossing heretofore or hereafter established, to vacate and close that part of the roadway on such crossing abolished, and to erect barricades across the roadway in such a manner as to prevent the use of such crossing as a roadway, when, in the opinion of the department, the public necessity served by the crossing in question is not such as to justify the further retention thereof. In any event, if a roadway/railway crossing is the subject of closure proceedings, both the local governmental entity and the rail carrier shall be given formal written notice by the department before any hearing is conducted by the department. However, a public hearing by the department to abolish a crossing shall not be required when the public roadway authority in interest abandons the roadway as provided for in Section 65-7-121. In such instance, the rail carrier, following notification to the department and roadway authority, shall remove any grade crossing warning devices and the grade crossing surface.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall have power, upon its own motion, or upon complaint, and after having made proper investigation and after notice and hearing, if requested, to require the installation of adequate and appropriate luminous reflective warning signs, luminous flashing signals, crossing gates illuminated at night, stop signs, yield signs or other warning devices in order to promote the health and safety of the public. Luminous flashing signals or crossing gate devices heretofore installed at grade crossings and those installations hereafter approved by the department shall be deemed adequate and appropriate. The department shall have authority to determine the number, type and location of such signs, signals, gates or other protective devices which shall conform as near as may be with generally recognized national standards, and the department shall have authority to prescribe the division of the cost of the installation and subsequent maintenance of such signs, signals, gates or other warning devices between the rail carrier or carriers, the public roadway authority in interest and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. In no event shall any costs assessed against either the public roadway authority in interest or the rail carrier exceed ten percent (10%) of the costs of the materials and installation.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as amending, repealing or modifying any duty or responsibility that railroads had, if any, immediately before the effective date of this act with regard to any applicable state or federal laws, statutes, regulations or orders pertaining to the maintenance of signals, signs and warning devices at roadway/railroad crossings.
In those instances where the department orders a grade crossing closed and another crossing improved with automatic warning devices and orders the installation of a connecting road for the traveling public, the cost of such connecting road assessed against the railroad and/or the roadway authority shall not exceed ten percent (10%) of the cost of installation of the connecting road and no more than five percent (5%) may be assessed against either of these parties, unless the parties agree in writing to pay a higher percentage.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.