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Thursday May 7th, 2015 5:40AM

High costs hampering Georgia rail safety efforts

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) State and local officials say cost is one of the many issues preventing gate and bell systems from being installed at Georgia's roughly 5,000 public rail crossings.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday that Georgia recorded 47 highway-rail crossing deaths or injuries last year which is up from 34 in 2011 and 40 in 2010. State officials say there are more than 3,300 rail crossings in Georgia that have no gates or bells to warn approaching drivers.

Georgia Department of Transportation utilities engineer Michael Bolden says the state gets about $8 million in federal funding annually for rail crossing safety.

Bolden says officials take into account vehicle traffic, prior incidents and other factors before deciding where to install the systems which can cost between $250,000 and $300,000 each.

NOTE: Three people were killed in a May crash between a train and a vehicle in Toccoa. See the link to the story below.
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