Penalty for trains blocking streets is $20? Now I get it…


I just got this from the S.C. House Democrats:

Rep. Rutherford Pre-Files Legislation Targeting Train Obstruction of Roadways

Columbia, SC – Democratic Leader Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia), announced today that he will pre-file legislation to target the issue of roadway obstructions caused by trains. The proposed bill would significantly increase the penalty for train and railroad companies that have products or assets that block South Carolina roads for longer than five minutes.

Todd Rutherford

Todd Rutherford

The intent behind the legislation comes less than a month after two trains blocked Whaley Street, Assembly Street, and Rosewood Drive in downtown Columbia, halting morning traffic for over an hour. Unfortunately, trains and other objects impeding automobile traffic are too common of occurrences, in both urban and rural communities across South Carolina.
Under current state law, the maximum penalty for obstruction of a roadway is $20. Rutherford’s bill seeks to increase the fine to $5,000 per lane blocked, with the fine rising to $10,000 per lane if the violation occurs between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.
Rutherford stated, “We cannot allow trains and obstructions to paralyze our roadways. Delays caused by these occurrences directly impact South Carolinians’ wallets and even worse, can be a matter of life or death. It is my hope that increased penalties and improved enforcement of the law will keep our roads clear and our cars moving.”
Rutherford continued, “South Carolinians should not have to suffer because they happen to live near a freight-train line. This issue threatens our quality of life, public safety, and economic growth.”

Can that even be right? $20? If so, it explains a great deal…

6 thoughts on “Penalty for trains blocking streets is $20? Now I get it…

  1. Kevin Dietrich

    “Rutherford’s bill seeks to increase the fine to $5,000 per lane blocked, with the fine rising to $10,000 per lane if the violation occurs between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.”

    This, however, seems a bit draconian.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      That’s chump change for the railroads. They have tons of money! Didn’t y’all ever play Monopoly? Owning the railroads was a guaranteed cash cow, as people are always landing on them. 🙂

        1. Richard

          All they do is pass it onto those who use rail service who then pass it onto the consumer. People act like these large penalties will hurt the railroad.

  2. Mark Stewart

    Doesn’t seem as though he knows anything about railroad ROW law…

    I think the two options are elevate Assembly for 6-7 blocks, or find and build new yards for both CSX and Norfolk Southern where they can connect their systems. In other words, someone is going to need to build a bridge for the roadway. Or else just continue to whine for another 100 years…

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