Tampa train trouble: City council moves to make changes

For years residents of Tampa's neighborhoods along a stretch of CSX rail line – including downtown, Ybor City, and near the Port of Tampa – have put up with the sound of loud train horns, sometimes at all hours of the night.
 
"We have residents at Skypoint who have chosen not to live downtown or have moved away from downtown because of the train noises at all hours of the day and the night," said Skypoint President Jeff Zampitella to the city council during their session.
 
To silence those train horns, the city would need to build railroad crossing barrier as dozens of city intersections, an undertaking that would likely cost many millions. 
 
But now there’s good news – the state might help pay for it.
 
"We had an opportunity that came along of a state-wide grant," said Jean Duncan, the city's transportation manager, who says the grant would cover 50 percent of the total project's costs. 
 
The project involves upgrading about 65 city intersections to have railroad crossing barriers and other lights and safety precautions. 
 
Having those barriers and other features would enable the CSX train conductors to not have to use their horns as they drive through town, creating the desired "quiet zone" effect. 
 
Thursday afternoon, the council said yes to a $90,000 feasibility study, a first step in making the upgrades and apply for the grant.
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