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Indiana can no longer fine train operators for blocking traffic

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has struck down a more than 150-year-old state law that allowed local governments to fine railroads when a stopped train blocks a street for more than 10 minutes.

The justices unanimously agreed in Monday's ruling that the 1865 Blocked Crossing Statute was pre-empted by the 1995 Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act. The act prohibits states from enacting a law or rule that manages or governs rail transportation.

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. challenged the statute after receiving multiple tickets in Allen County. The railroad's lawyers said the company faced a burden of having to speed up trains or run shorter trains to comply with the statute.

State Attorney General Curtis Hill had argued that regulating rail crossings for public welfare still falls under the state's police powers.

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