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SC lawmaker wants harsher penalties for slow trains blocking traffic

CSX Train (File/WCIV)

A South Carolina lawmaker wants to increase the penalties for trains blocking traffic.

Columbia Rep. Todd Rutherford told The State newspaper he wants stiffer penalties for any train that blocks a road for more than five minutes.

The city of Columbia and South Carolina have laws to impose penalties for long delays. Those laws are rarely enforced.

The current penalty ranges from $5 to $20. Rutherford says that should be $5,000 per lane blocked, with a higher fine for roads blocked between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Columbia Police Sgt. Robert Uhall said enforcing tougher standards could slow trains as officers tried to determine why a train was stopped.

Desiree French with the Federal Railroad Administration says city and state laws are mostly overridden by federal train rules.

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