CAMERON, Texas — The City of Cameron is applying for a grant to install quiet zones around the downtown Cameron. Some business owners believe it could reduce the number of daily disruptions.
- About 40 trains travel through Cameron each day, interrupting businesses and government meetings, according to city leaders.
- Quiet zones ban trains from sounding horns in certain areas, but the city must meet safety requirements before they can be implemented.
- The city is applying for a Federal Transportation Administration grant that would fully cover the costs.
Forty-two times a day is how many times Roxane Witte, owner of ZX Made in Texas, hears the train in downtown Cameron.
The tracks are right behind her shop, and the noise is starting to disrupt business.
"You can't hear what's going on. Sometimes, you literally have to stop what you're doing and wait for the trains to pass because of the noise," she said.
Executive Director of the Cameron Industrial Foundation Ginger Watkins says it's been a problem for years.
But she's trying to change this with quiet zones at the five crossings in town.
"It's piercing, and it is a public health issue. It's a noise pollution issue, so for public health and public safety and economic development. It is a barrier to economic development," Watkins said.
Quiet zones ban trains from sounding horns in certain areas.
But first, the city needs to increase safety at the tracks and money for the infrastructure.
"The city is applying for a grant through the Federal Transportation Administration. This is a very unique grant in that because we're a rural city and because the Census tracks that the quiet zone is contemplated for our historically disadvantaged. We are eligible for 100% funding," Watkins said.
The plan adds medians and curbs at crossings, preventing drivers from going around the safety bars.
"I think there's a need for it because we're doing so much down here to revitalize and build new businesses, and it will just add to what's going on down here — create a better atmosphere," Witte said.
The Cameron Economic Development department is expecting to get the decision on the loan by the end of the month.