First-Class Cities

In 2015, the Washington State Legislature expanded the UTC's regulatory jurisdiction to improve safety in response to increasing movements of crude oil trains traveling through the state. 

Keep Railroad Crossing Data Current 

By law, first-class cities must keep public railroad crossing data current (RCW 81.53.240(2)). Cities are responsible for providing updated crossing inventory information to the UTC as crossings are modified, closed, or opened, within 30 days of the action. Cities may send this information by email to

Opt-In to UTC Safety Inspection Program 

Another provision of the law allows first-class cities to opt-in to the UTC's railroad crossing safety inspection program, which includes regular periodic inspections, identification of defects, and enforcement for correcting those defects. Previously, first-class cities were responsible for ensuring safety at railroad crossings within their own city. There are ten first-class cities in Washington: Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Everett, Richland, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Yakima.  

  • Process for opt-in: A first-class city must notify the UTC in writing of its intent to opt-in at least 60 days prior to the effective date requested by the city. A request to opt-in must be accompanied by documentation demonstrating that the city's governing body has approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the city and the UTC.

  •  FINAL MOU UTC with First Class Cities 5-8-18.docx

  • Technical assistance: For first-class cities that opt-in, UTC staff will provide technical assistance on grade crossing safety, maintenance, and modifications as agreed between the city and the UTC.

  • Opting out: First-class cities may opt out of the UTC's crossing safety inspection program by submitting a notice of withdrawal in writing at least 90 days prior to the date the city intends to assume rail crossing safety inspections within its jurisdiction.

  • Participating cities: Bellingham, Richland, Vancouver and Tacoma.


 Please email