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The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) yesterday announced that 326,170 state residents live within the evacuation zone of train routes carrying crude oil from North Dakota.The department issued the statement following Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's call earlier this week for a rail-safety improvement plan that would implement 75 projects in the state.Trains carrying crude oil travel along 700 miles of track from North Dakota through the Twin Cities, and about five to seven crude-carrying trains pass through the state per day, according to MnDOT."This data provides a greater emphasis on the need for a strong rail-safety program," said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. "If trains derail and an emergency occurs, many lives could be in danger."Zelle said Dayton's rail-safety plan would funnel $330 million over the next 10 years to the improvement of 75 grade crossings throughout the state, in addition to creating a new training facility for emergency workers responding to train derailments.“Improved crossings will mean fewer chances for train and wheeled vehicles crashes, which will mean less likelihood of derailments,” Zelle said.
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