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Proposed legislation that was approved by the Iowa House and has early support in the Senate would eliminate the risks of injury litigation for railroad companies that allow recreational trails to be built on portions of their railways.

House File 2415 was advanced by a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.

The bill is meant to help Oelwein — a northeast Iowa town of about 5,900 — complete an expansive trail system that would circle the town and connect to other area trails.

“This will actually help a ton of cities throughout the state as they are crossing railroad lines, going near railroad lines, or trying to work with anybody that has private property,” said Dylan Mulfinger, the city administrator for Oelwein. “If we run an easement through you, you’re not responsible if someone is actively using that trail and has an accident on your property.”

Oelwein’s issue arose about two years ago as it was poised to start the multi-year trail project but was met with resistance from Iowa Northern Railway Company



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