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Published: Wednesday, 5/10/2006

Toledo appeals dismissal of 219 railroad citations

The city of Toledo is appealing a ruling last month that dismissed 219 citations against Norfolk Southern Railway for blocking crossings in the city. John Madigan, acting city law director, yesterday gave notice of the appeal to Ohio s 6th District Court of Appeals.

Judge Francis X. Gorman dismissed the citations April 11 in Toledo Municipal Court after deciding the state s blocked-crossing statute is pre-empted by federal law. His decision came a month after the railroad filed a motion to dismiss the citations filed by Toledo police.

The ruling was issued months after CSX Transportation reached an agreement with the city to resolve 37 similar cases in Municipal Court. Police charged the railroads under the state law, with a penalty that carries a mandatory $1,000 fine.

As part of its settlement with CSX, the city amended that railroad s charges to similar violations under municipal law, which carries a maximum $500 fine. CSX pleaded no contest to its charges, and Judge Gene Zmuda sentenced it to pay $10 for every minute a train obstructed traffic up to the maximum $500 fine, plus court costs.

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