Such signs shall be round and of a size, color and message as specified by the department and approved by the office. Any change in these signs shall not be retroactive.
Such signs shall be placed in conspicuous locations beside every highway which crosses a railroad at grade (outside of cities and incorporated villages) as near as practicable to the traveled portion of the highway on each side of such crossing, at a location and in a manner to be prescribed by the department, the county highway commissioner or the town board, or, if the crossing is so near city or village limits that the sign will be within such limits, by the city council or the village board, as the case may be.
In case any sign installed as provided in this section, other than that on the state trunk highway system, is destroyed or becomes illegible by any cause whatsoever, the railroad company, upon request from the county highway commissioner, shall forthwith deliver another such sign at the crossing near which it is to be installed; neither the installation of said signs nor the failure to install or maintain the same shall render the town, county or state liable for any accident that may occur by reason of such installation or neglect.
Other signs prohibited.
No other sign of the general size or appearance of the signs provided for in this section shall be placed or permitted upon any highway, nor any sign between such advance signs except signs or signals required by law or permitted by the office for protection at railway crossings.
Penalties relating to interference with signs.
Any person who removes, throws down, injures or defaces any sign required by this section shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $25.
Any person or corporation upon conviction for the violation of any of the provisions of this section, except sub. (6)
, shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $200 for each violation.
The district attorney shall prosecute any person violating this section, or begin and maintain any civil action necessary for its enforcement upon the demand of any county highway commissioner, the department, or the office.
Railroad highway crossings. 195.29(1)(1)
Petition, hearing, order.
Upon petition by the common council or board of any city, village, town or county within or bordering upon which a highway or street crosses a railroad, or a highway or street is proposed to be laid out across a railroad, or a public highway bridge across a railroad is required to connect existing streets or highways, or upon petition by any railroad whose track crosses or is about to cross, or is crossed or about to be crossed by a street or highway, or upon petition by the department, in cases where provision has been made for the improvement of the highway adjacent to such crossing under any state aid or federal aid law, that public safety requires an alteration in such crossing, its approaches, the method of crossing, the location of the highway or crossing, or the closing of the crossing, and the substitution of another therefor at grade or not at grade, or the removal of obstructions to the view at such crossing, the relocation of the highway, or requires the determination of the manner of making such new crossing, or of making the proposed improvement or promoting the public safety or public convenience through any other reasonable method, and praying that the same may be ordered, the office shall give notice to the parties in interest and proceed to investigate the same and to order a hearing thereon in the manner provided by s. 195.04
. The office shall determine what, if anything, shall be done to promote the public safety and the means by which it shall be accomplished, whether by the relocation of the highway, the alteration in such crossing, approaches, mode of crossing, location of highway crossing, closing of highway crossing, with or without the substitution of another therefor, the construction of a public highway bridge, the removal of obstructions to sight at crossing, or by the use of other reasonable methods, and by whom the same shall be made, and in case of new crossings the advisability of allowing such crossings to be established and manner of making them.
Apportionment of expense.
The office shall fix the proportion of the cost and expense of alterations, removals and new crossings, or any other work ordered, including the damages to any person whose land is taken, and the special damages which the owner of any land adjoining the public street or highway shall sustain by reason of a change in the grade of such street or highway, or by reason of the removal of obstructions to view at such crossings, to be paid or borne by the railroad companies and the municipalities in interest. In fixing such proportion, the office may order such cost and expense so apportioned to be paid by the parties against which the apportionment shall be made.
Restoration of spur tracks.
Whenever the office shall have ordered a separation of the grade of a railway from the grade of a street or highway, it may, if safe and practicable and if a necessity exists therefor, order the alteration, restoration and connection of any track serving an industry. Demand for such restoration shall be in writing and filed with the office within 90 days after the date of the order for the separation of grades, and any such track for which no such demand shall have been made shall be deemed abandoned. If the office shall order the alteration, restoration and connection of any such track, it shall by its order apportion the cost thereof between the owner of the industry served and the railway company, in such proportion as to the office may seem just and equitable; and the office shall in its order prescribe the terms and conditions for securing the payment of such cost.
Grade separation in Milwaukee County.
The office may upon petition of any town, city or village, or upon its own motion, when the interests of the public demand it and it is found practicable so to do, establish the grade of the tracks of any railroad, or of all the railroads throughout any county having a population of 750,000 or more, or any part thereof, and the grades of the streets or highways, or any of them, where they cross such railroad track or tracks, in anticipation of the future separation of grades of the railroad tracks from the grades of such streets or highways. The office, before making any such order, shall mail notice to the railroad company or companies affected, the owners or occupants of any building abutting on that part of the railroad the grade of which is to be established, all 1st class cities in the county, and if the grades to be established are outside the 1st class city, the towns, cities or villages in which such grades are to be established, of the filing of such petition or that the office contemplates establishing such grades, and fixing a time at which the 1st class cities and such other towns, cities or villages and the railroad company or companies affected thereby and any other person or corporation interested therein may be heard. The grades so established under this subsection shall be described by reference to a base or datum line to be established by the office, from which all elevations and the height of all grades shall be measured, and the grades so established shall be such that when brought to the established grade the railroad tracks will cross the streets and highways above or below the same. Such order shall not necessarily require a present change in grade but the office may at any time order the railroad track or tracks and the street and highways brought to the grade established or any street or highways closed by the order, in accordance with sub. (1)
, and may, at the time of making the order, apportion the cost of separating the grades as provided in sub. (2)
Elimination of grade crossings, costs.
Upon petition of the department, or of the common council or board of any city, village, town, or county, alleging that one or more of them have undertaken or propose to undertake to relocate or improve an existing highway or to construct a new highway in such manner as to eliminate a highway grade crossing with any railroad or so as to permanently divert a material portion of the highway traffic from a highway grade crossing with any railroad, the office shall issue notice of investigation and hearing, as provided in s. 195.04
. If upon such hearing the office finds that the public safety will be promoted by the highway relocation, improvement, or new construction, the office shall order the old crossings closed and new crossings opened as are deemed necessary for public safety. The order shall require the railroad company or companies to pay to the interested municipality or municipalities such sum as the office finds to be an equitable portion of the cost of the highway relocation, improvement, or new construction, if the work is performed by the municipalities; or to the secretary of administration if the work is performed by the state; or to the proper county treasurer if the work is performed by the county. The sum shall be added to the joint fund available for the improvement and may be expended in like manner as the other portions of the fund.
View at crossings; trees and brush near crossings; forfeiture.
Every railroad shall keep its right-of-way clear of brush or trees for a distance of not less than 330 feet in each direction from the center of its intersection at grade with any public highway to provide an adequate view of approaching trains or railroad track equipment from the highway. Every municipality shall keep the public highways within its jurisdiction clear of brush and shall adequately trim all trees within 330 feet of the center of any railroad highway grade crossing. Every person or corporation owning or occupying any land adjacent to any railroad highway grade crossing shall keep all brush cut and adequately trim all trees on the land within the triangles bounded on 2 sides by the railway and the highway, and on the 3rd side by a line connecting points on the center lines of the railway and the highway, 330 feet from the intersection of the center lines. The office, upon its own motion, or upon any complaint to the effect that any work required by this subsection has not been performed, after due notice and hearing, may order the corporation, municipality or person at fault to perform the work; provided, however, that if the physical conditions at any crossing are such that the performance of the required work will not materially improve the view for highway traffic, or, if unreasonable loss would be caused thereby, the office may excuse the party in interest from performing the same. The office may also order the cutting of brush and the trimming of trees at private farm crossings as may be necessary and reasonable. If any person shall violate any provision of this section, or shall fail, neglect or refuse to obey any order made by the office under this section, or any judgment or decree made by any court upon such an order, for every such violation, failure or refusal such person shall forfeit not less than $25 nor more than $150.
Whenever the office shall order the construction or reconstruction of a crossing not at grade, it may direct that the structure required shall be of such character and constructed of such materials as it shall deem appropriate to the situation and necessary for the public interest.
Acquisition of lands.
Any lands needed to carry out the provisions of this section may be acquired.
A landowner incurs no liability to highway users who are injured as result of the landowner's violation of sub. (6). Wells v. Chicago & North Western Transportation Co. 98 Wis. 2d 328
, 296 N.W.2d 559
Railroad crossings; grade separation, safety devices. 195.30(1)(1)
Upon a petition by the common council of any city, or the board of any village, town or county within which a railroad crosses another railroad at grade, or by any such railroad, that public safety requires an alteration in the crossing or the installation of protective appliances, the office shall give notice to the parties in interest, and proceed to investigate the same and may order a hearing on the matter. The office shall determine what alteration in such crossing, if any, shall be made, and by whom made and maintained, or what protective appliances shall be installed, operated and maintained at the crossing and by whom installed, operated and maintained. The office shall fix the proportion of the cost and expense of such change in grade and maintenance of the crossing or of the installation, operation and maintenance of the safety appliance which shall be paid by the railroad companies, respectively.
The provisions of this section shall apply to drawbridges, junctions and other fouling points on railroads.
History: 1981 c. 347
s. 80 (1)
; 1993 a. 16
History: 2001 a. 14
Bridges made safe.
Whenever a complaint is lodged with the office by the common council of any city, the village board of any village, a member of a town board, or a supervisor of highways, or by 5 or more electors and taxpayers in any town, or 5 or more electors of the county in which such bridge is located, and who are users of such bridge or railway, to the effect that a bridge erected over a stream intersecting a public highway or highways upon which a railway is constructed and operated, is unsafe and dangerous to travelers over such highway or highways or bridge or railroad, and that public safety requires the alteration, the repair or reconstruction of such bridge, or the substitution of another bridge therefor, it shall be the duty of the office to give notice to the party or parties in interest, other than the petitioners, of the filing of such complaint, and to furnish a copy of the complaint to the party or parties in interest other than the petitioners, and to order a hearing thereon, in the manner provided for hearings in ss. 195.04
. The office may proceed in a similar manner in the absence of a petition when, in the opinion of the office, public safety requires the alteration, repair or reconstruction of a bridge or the substitution of another bridge for the bridge in question. After the hearing, the office shall determine what alteration or repair or reconstruction of such bridge, and the approaches thereto, shall be made, or if it shall determine that public safety requires the substitution of a new bridge, it shall determine the character, manner of construction and location of such bridge and the approaches thereto. The office shall fix the proportion of the cost and expense of such alteration, repair, reconstruction or substitution of a new bridge, including the damage to any person whose land is taken, and the special damage which the owner of any land adjoining the approaches to said bridge shall sustain by reason of the alteration, repair, reconstruction or substitution of a new bridge, to be paid by the railroad company and the city, village or town in interest.
Safety gates on drawbridges.
Whenever a complaint is filed with the office to the effect that any drawbridge is not equipped with gates or other safety devices, the office may notify the proper party or parties in interest of the complaint, and may proceed to investigate the complaint and to hold a hearing on the matter in the manner provided for hearings in ss. 195.04
. If after the investigation the office determines that public safety requires the erection and maintenance of gates or other safety devices at the points mentioned in the complaint, it may order the county, city, village, town, corporation or person whose duty it is to maintain such bridge to erect and maintain at such points such gates or other safety devices as the office prescribes. The office may conduct the investigations, hold the hearings and make the orders provided for in this section upon its own motion in the same manner and with the same effect as though a complaint were filed.
Reports of accidents, investigation.
Every water carrier shall report to the office all accidents resulting in injury to persons arising from its operation. The office may issue rules concerning the reporting of accidents by water carriers and may also, if public interests require, cause an investigation of any accident. Every railroad shall submit to the office a copy of any accident or injury report provided by the railroad to the applicable federal authority for all collisions, derailments or other accidents resulting in injury to persons, equipment, or roadway arising from its operation. The office may issue rules concerning the submission of copies of federal reports under this section and may also, to the extent permitted by federal law, participate in any accident investigation.
See also ss. RR 2.12
, Wis. adm. code.
If any director, officer, employee or agent of a railroad or water carrier, in the course of the discharge of his or her duties, willfully, wantonly or recklessly causes to be done or permits to be done any matter, act or thing in this chapter prohibited or declared to be unlawful, or willfully, wantonly or recklessly fails to do any act, matter or thing required to be done by this chapter, the railroad or water carrier shall be liable to the person injured thereby in treble the amount of damages sustained in consequence of the violation. No recovery as in this section provided shall affect a recovery by the state of the penalty prescribed for such violation.
The burden of proof in an action under sub. (1)
rests with the person injured to prove the case by clear and convincing evidence.
A treble damage claim is no longer a separate cause of action because gross negligence is to be compared like all other negligence. Kania v. Chicago & North Western Railway Co. 57 Wis. 2d 761
, 204 N.W.2d 681
General penalty upon railroads and water carriers.
If any railroad or water carrier shall violate any provision of this chapter, or shall do any act herein prohibited, or shall fail or refuse to perform any duty enjoined upon it, for which a penalty has not been provided, or shall fail, neglect or refuse to obey any lawful requirement or order made by the office, or any judgment or decree made by any court upon its application, for every such violation, failure or refusal in respect to any matter prescribed by this chapter such railroad or water carrier shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $10,000. The act, omission or failure of any officer, agent or other person employed by any railroad or water carrier, acting within the scope of his or her employment, shall be deemed to be the act, omission or failure of such railroad or water carrier.
Water carrier freight charges; collection, refund. 195.37(1)(1)
Complaints, investigations, hearings, findings, refund.
The office may investigate the complaint of any person aggrieved that the charge exacted by a water carrier for the transportation of property between points in this state, or for any service in connection with transportation of property, or that the charge exacted by a water carrier for the storage of such property, or that any charge exacted by a water carrier is erroneous, illegal, unusual or exorbitant and shall set the complaint for hearing as provided in s. 195.04 (2)
. If the office finds that the rate or charge exacted by a water carrier is erroneous, illegal, unusual or exorbitant, it shall find what would have been a reasonable rate or charge for such service. If the rate or charge so found is less than the charge exacted, the carrier shall refund the excess.
Actions; findings as evidence, defenses.
In an action to recover the amount of such excess charge, the findings of the office shall be prima facie evidence of the truth of the facts found by it, and no carrier shall be permitted to avail itself of the defense that the shipment involved was in fact made on the published tariff rate in force at the time such shipment was made, but no carrier making a refund upon the order of the office or the judgment of a court shall be liable for any penalty or subject to any prosecution on account of making such refund.
Limitation for filing claim.
All complaints provided for in sub. (1)
, except those for straight overcharges, shall be filed with the office within 2 years after delivery of the shipment of property at destination, subject to sub. (6)
Straight overcharges, limitation of actions, exception. 195.37(4)(a)(a)
In this subsection, “straight overcharge" means a charge in excess of those applicable under the lawful tariffs on file with the office.
For recovery of a straight overcharge, neither this section nor s. 195.38
shall be considered exclusive remedies. Complaints for the recovery of a straight overcharge may be filed or actions begun within 3 years from the delivery of the shipment of property at destination, and not after, except that if a claim for the overcharge has been presented in writing to the carrier within the 3-year period, the period shall be extended to include 6 months from the time that notice in writing is given by the carrier to the claimant of disallowance of the claim or any part of the claim.
Actions by carriers, limitation.
Actions by carriers for the recovery of charges for the transportation of property between points in Wisconsin, or for any service in connection therewith, or for the storage of such property, or for any car service or demurrage charge, or any part thereof, shall be begun within 3 years after the delivery of the shipment of property at destination with respect to which the charge is made and not after.
Limitation action, extended by carrier.
If, on or before the expiration of the 2-year period of limitation under sub. (3)
or of the 3-year period of limitation under sub. (4)
, a carrier commences an action for the recovery of charges in respect to the same transportation service, or without bringing action collects charges in respect of that service, the periods of limitation under subs. (3)
shall be extended to include 90 days from the time that the carrier's action is commenced or the charges are collected by the carrier.
Water carrier freight bills; examination; refunds.
Within 3 years after the delivery of any shipment of property at destination by a water carrier, any person, firm or corporation may submit to the office, by mail or in person, any water carrier expense bill or receipt showing charges paid for transportation of such property by freight for the purpose of having the expense bill or receipt examined with respect to the correctness of weights, rates and charges indicated thereon. Upon receipt of any such expense bill or receipt, the office may make such examination as is necessary, and if it is found that any such weights, rates or charges are incorrect, the office shall order the water carrier in error to refund to the person, firm or corporation which submitted such expense bills or receipts, any over or excessive charges paid by such person, firm or corporation.
Common carriers of passengers or property by water; certificate required. 195.45(1)(1)
No person shall operate as a common carrier of passengers or property by water except in accordance with the terms and conditions of a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the office. The office shall issue any certificate upon a finding that the service proposed to be performed is in the public interest and required by public convenience and necessity.
Application for the certificate shall be made on forms furnished by the office and shall contain such information as the office requires.
Every application for a certificate under this section shall be accompanied by a filing fee of $40.
The office may promulgate rules for the operation of this section.
History: 1981 c. 347
s. 80 (1)
; 1993 a. 16
See also ch. RR 4
, Wis. adm. code.
Information, papers and accounting. 195.50(1)(1)
Any officer, agent or employee of any railroad or water carrier who fails to fill out and return any forms required by this chapter, or fails to answer any question therein, or knowingly gives a false answer to any such question, or evades the answer to any such question where the fact inquired of is within his or her knowledge, or who, upon proper demand, fails to exhibit to the office or department or any person authorized to examine the same, any book, paper, account, record or memoranda of such railroad or water carrier which is in the possession or under control of the officer, agent or employee, or who fails to properly use and keep the system of accounting prescribed by the office, or who refuses to do any act or thing in connection with such system of accounting when so directed by the office or its authorized representatives, shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each offense.
A forfeiture of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 shall be recovered from the railroad or water carrier for each such offense when such officer, agent or employee acted in obedience to the direction, instruction or request of such railroad or water carrier or any general officer thereof.
Payment of office expenses by railroads and water carriers. 195.60(1)(1)
Whenever the office in a proceeding upon its own motion, on complaint, or upon an application to it deems it necessary in order to carry out the duties imposed upon it by law to investigate the books, accounts, practices and activities of, or make appraisals of the property of any railroad or water carrier or to render any engineering or accounting services to any railroad or water carrier, the railroad or water carrier shall pay the expenses attributable to such investigation, appraisal or service. The office shall ascertain such expenses, and shall render a bill therefor, by mail, to the railroad or water carrier, either at the conclusion of the investigation, appraisal or services, or during its progress. The bill shall constitute notice of assessment and demand of payment thereof. The railroad or water carrier shall, within 30 days after the mailing thereof, pay to the office the amount of the special expense for which it is billed. Ninety percent of the payment shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.155 (2) (g)
. The total amount, in any one calendar year, for which any railroad or water carrier becomes liable, by reason of costs incurred by the office within such calendar year, shall not exceed four-fifths of one percent of its gross operating revenues derived from intrastate operations in the last preceding calendar year. Where, under this subsection, costs are incurred within any calendar year, which are in excess of four-fifths of one percent of such gross operating revenues, the excess costs shall not be chargeable as part of the remainder under sub. (2)
but shall be paid out of the general appropriation to the office. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the office from rendering bills in one calendar year for costs incurred within a previous year. For the purpose of calculating the costs of investigations, appraisals and other services under this subsection, 90 percent of the costs determined shall be costs of the office and 10 percent of the costs determined shall be costs of state government operations.
The office shall annually, within 90 days after the close of each fiscal year, ascertain the total of its expenditures during such year which are reasonably attributable to the performance of its duties relating to railroads and water carriers. For purposes of such calculation, 90 percent of the expenditures so determined shall be expenditures of the office and 10 percent of the expenditures so determined shall be expenditures for state government operations. The office shall deduct therefrom all amounts chargeable to railroads and water carriers under sub. (1)
and s. 201.10 (3)
. A sum equal to the remainder plus 10 percent of the remainder shall be assessed by the office to the several railroads and water carriers in proportion to their respective gross operating revenues during the last calendar year, derived from intrastate operations. Such assessment shall be paid within 30 days after the bill has been mailed to the several railroads and water carriers, which bill shall constitute notice of assessment and demand of payment thereof. The total amount which may be assessed to the railroads and water carriers under authority of this subsection shall not exceed 1.85 percent of the total gross operating revenues of such railroads and water carriers, during such calendar year, derived from intrastate operations. Ninety percent of the payment shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.155 (2) (g)
. The railroads and water carriers shall furnish such financial information as the office requires for purposes of this section.
If any railroad or water carrier against which a bill has been rendered under sub. (1)
within 30 days after the rendering of such bill neglects or refuses to pay the same or fails to file objections to the bill with the office, the office shall transmit to the secretary of administration a certified copy of the bill, together with notice of neglect or refusal to pay the bill, and on the same day the office shall mail to the railroad or water carrier against which the bill has been rendered a copy of the notice which it has transmitted to the secretary of administration. Within 10 days after the receipt of such notice and certified copy of such bill, the secretary of administration shall levy the amount stated on such bill to be due, with interest, by distress and sale of any goods and chattels, including stocks, securities, bank accounts, evidences of debt, and accounts receivable belonging to such delinquent railroad or water carrier. Such levy by distress and sale shall be governed by the provisions of s. 74.10
, 1985 stats., except that it shall be made by the secretary of administration and that said goods and chattels anywhere within the state may be levied upon.
Within 30 days after the date of the mailing of any bill as provided by subs. (1)
, the railroad or water carrier against which such bill has been rendered may file with the office objections setting out in detail the grounds upon which the objector regards the bill to be excessive, erroneous, unlawful or invalid. The office, after notice to the objector, shall hold a hearing upon such objections, not less than 5 nor more than 10 days after such notice. If after such hearing the office finds any part of the bill to be excessive, erroneous, unlawful or invalid it shall record its findings upon its minutes and transmit to the objector an amended bill, in accordance with such findings. The amended bill shall have in all ways the same force and effect under this section as an original bill rendered under subs. (1)
If after the hearing the office finds the entire bill unlawful or invalid, it shall notify the objector of such determination, in which case the original bill shall be deemed void.
If after the hearing the office finds that the bill as rendered is neither excessive, erroneous, unlawful or invalid, either in whole or in part, it shall record such findings upon its minutes, and transmit to the objector notice of such finding.
If any bill against which objections have been filed is not paid within 10 days after notice of a finding that such objections have been overruled and disallowed by the office has been mailed to the objector, the office shall give notice of such delinquency to the secretary of administration and to the objector, in the manner provided in sub. (3)
. The secretary of administration shall then proceed to collect the amount of the bill as provided in sub. (3)
. If an amended bill is not paid within 10 days after a copy thereof is mailed to the objector by registered mail, the office shall notify the secretary of administration and the objector as in the case of delinquency in the payment of an original bill. The secretary of administration shall then proceed to collect the amount of the bill as provided in the case of an original bill.
No suit or proceeding shall be maintained in any court for the purpose of restraining or in any way delaying the collection or payment of any bill rendered under subs. (1)
. Every railroad or water carrier against which a bill is rendered shall pay the amount thereof, and after such payment may in the manner herein provided, at any time within 2 years from the date the payment was made, sue the state in an action at law to recover the amount paid with legal interest thereon from the date of payment, upon the ground that the assessment was excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid in whole or in part. If it is finally determined in such action that any part of the bill for which payment was made was excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid, the secretary of administration shall make a refund to the claimant as directed by the court, which shall be charged to the appropriations to the office.
No action for recovery of any amount paid under this section shall be maintained in any court unless objections have been filed with the office as provided in this section. In any action for recovery of any payments made under this section the claimant shall be entitled to raise every relevant issue of law, but the office's findings of fact made pursuant to this section shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.
The following shall be deemed to be findings of fact of the office, within the meaning of this section:
Determinations of fact expressed in bills rendered under this section; and
Determinations of fact set out in those minutes of the office which record the action of the office in passing upon said bills, and in passing upon objections thereto.
The procedure by this section providing for determining the lawfulness of bills and the recovery back of payments made pursuant to such bills shall be exclusive of all other remedies and procedures.
See also ss. RR 2.01
, and 2.04
, Wis. adm. code.