The Leader Herald
FONDA – The village Board of Trustees “reluctantly” passed a resolution at Monday’s monthly meeting to cooperate with the New York state Department of Transportation’s order regarding the CSX crossings at Broadway and Center streets.
A DOT order was finalized by Chief Administrative Law Judge Robert Rybak on Aug. 15. The order stated the CSX railroad crossing on Broadway will be closed to northbound traffic and the crossing at Center Street will be completely closed to vehicle traffic but open to pedestrians.
CSX requested DOT close the village crossings in 2011. CSX claimed the crossings are dangerous and few vehicles use them.
The request to close the crossings was met with opposition from village residents and many officials in Montgomery County.
Village Attorney Michael Albanese advised the board to comply with the order because if they do not, the Broadway crossing would be completely closed to traffic.
Although Peeler and board members said they disagree with the decision, they intend to cooperate and work with CSX and the DOT to carry out the principles of the order.
However, the board requested Albanese investigate any grounds for appeal of the DOT’s decision and look into the cost for special counsel to handle the case.
Mayor Bill Peeler and the Village Board have expressed their disagreement with the DOT’s decision. Village residents also have expressed their disappointment with the decision.
However, residents said the appeal could be expensive and isn’t guaranteed to change the DOT’s final decision.
Peeler and the board said they will make inquiries regarding the language used in the order detailing when the reversal of traffic flow over the one lane crossing is permitted. In the order, reversal is allowed under the following conditions: “State of Emergency declared by Montgomery County affecting the village area, notification of CSX Transportation, Inc. train operations via appropriate CSX protocol by county emergency officials and the presence of police officers at Broadway and State Route 5 Main St. intersection to preclude queuing on the Broadway crossing.”
Peeler and board members said they believe a declaration of emergency by county authorities does not supersede state law. Citing Executive Law, Section 24, Paragraph 1, the board said the chief executive may declare a state of emergency within any or all parts of local government.
Also, they said, by the state’s definition of “police officer,” fire police, who are “peace officers,” and other officials who can be trained present during those emergency situations would not be allowed to offer their services.