BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For a discussion that generally sticks to an upbeat tune, there was a bit of a cloud hanging over Biloxi's first breakfast with the mayor of 2017.
While discussions did include progress on roadwork and the efforts being made for a new gate at Keesler Air Force Base, last week's fatal bus and train accident dominated conversation.
"We'll make every opportunity to prohibit this from happening again," said Gilich.
According to Gilich, efforts have already been underway to make the Main Street crossing safer, like signage. But, the mayor says there is more to do. That feeling was shared by several people in attendance.
Business developer Louis Finkle posed a question to the mayor about the accident.
"Who is responsible for the elevation change from one side to the other of the railroad track? That's important because someone is going to have to pay the liability for that accident," said Finkle.
Mayor Gilich says the answer to that is being determined, but in the meantime he sees the situation as somewhat of a shared responsibility. Especially when considering the amount of land for which rail company, CSX, is responsible, and the roadways leading up to the crossings.
"He explained that if you look at the geometry of the height of the railroad track verses the surrounding land between the city and the railroad company, you can compromise and maybe share the cost of that," said Finkle.
No matter what is determined, and who is found to be responsible, Gilich says he's looking forward to finding a solution.
"We're all a part of it. Together, we're going to make things safe," said Gilich.
Gilich said there are 29 railroad crossings in Biloxi. 20 of those are east of Keesler Air Force Base.
The chamber presented Biloxi Police Chief John Miller and Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney the first responders of the first quarter awards.