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BNSF ticketed for traffic delays

BENSON, Minn. (AP) -- Increased oil production in North Dakota and Canada means more train traffic across Minnesota.

That's causing traffic tie-ups and safety concerns in some cities. In the Swift County community of Benson, traffic delays became so frustrating that police have started issuing tickets to Burlington Northern Santa Fe for blocking city streets longer than allowed by state law, which is 10 minutes.

Chief Ian Hodge says his department has issued four citations to the railroad for blocking traffic. Hodge says it's a public safety issue because there are no options for fire trucks and emergency vehicles to get around the trains in a hurry.

The tickets add up to about $1,200. The railroad will go to court June 19 to fight them. It plans to argue that federal rail regulation trumps state traffic laws.

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