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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bill would let Spokane officials order railroads to go slower through downtown area

OLYMPIA – Spokane officials could make railroads slow down on their way through the city under a bill proposed Wednesday.

SB 5098, sponsored by Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, would give major cities, along with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, the authority to declare a local safety hazard and set lower speed limits than the federal government allows in certain cases.

Under federal law, trains can travel as fast as 50 mph through cities, but lower limits can be set for “unique local safety hazards,” Billig said. Having a train with highly flammable materials traveling on elevated train tracks through commercial and residential areas at 50 mph is a unique hazard and “a recipe for disaster,” he said.

The bill could be scheduled for a hearing in the Transportation or the Energy committee, he said.

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