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New York to receive $5 million of new railroad safety funding

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Joe Torres has more from Valhalla.

Metro-North will benefit from a $25 million federal infusion of funds for upgrades on railroads across the nation. The Federal Railroad Administration announced Monday that New York will receive more than five million dollars aimed at updating track and crossings.

Among the planned railroad safety improvements are closed circuit TV cameras at the Metro-North Railroad crossings in North White Plains, Bedford Hills and at Commerce Street in Valhalla, site of the February 2015 train crash that killed 6 people - among them, Ellen Brody. Brody's SUV stopped on the tracks, before a Harlem line train smashed into it.

On Monday, Ellen's husband, Alan Brody described the planned safety improvements as 'cosmetic.'

"This has no digital technology whatsoever. It is still in the 19th century - it's paint, it's ballards, it's weird signs. There's no illumination. There are no sensors," Alan says.

The safety upgrades are happening because of a boost in funding. The Federal Railroad Administration gave more than $5 million to the New York State Department of Transportation. Improvements are planned at dozens of Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road crossings.

"Grade crossing fatalities have increased by sixteen percent over the last three years," says Rep. Nita Lowey.

"The important thing to understand about railroad crossing accidents is that every single one is preventable," added FAA Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

The Roaring Brook Road crossing in Chappaqua, located less than a half-mile away from a high school will soon see traffic signal improvements in addition to the red paint street markings and new signage already in place.

"I think unfortunately you always need a catalyst. And the tragedy in Valhalla was that catalyst," says New Castle Town Council-member Lisa Katz.
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