Federal Railroad Administration – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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On April 3, 2015 (80 FR 18292), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provided notice of a public hearing to receive views, data, and comments regarding BNSF Railway's (BNSF) petition for modification and extension of its waiver of compliance from certain provisions of the Federal railroad safety regulations contained in title 49 Code of Federal Regulations part 232, Brake System Safety Standards for Freight and Other Non-Passenger Trains and Equipment, in Docket Number FRA-2006-24812. The notice contained an incorrect date of the public hearing.
Notice of Intent To Grant a Buy America Waiver to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the Use of Transponders and Temporary Speed Restriction Safety Servers
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it intends to grant the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on behalf of its commuter railroad subsidiaries, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company (Metro-North), a waiver from FRA's Buy America requirement for the use of (a) transponders and (b) Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) safety servers, which are made in Sweden. Transponders and TSR safety servers are two components of LIRR's and Metro-North's Positive Train Control system (PTC). The two non-domestic components represent approximately 1% of the $428 million total value of the contracts Metro-North and LIRR entered into with a system integrator to design and furnish PTC (PTC Contracts). The TSR safety servers cost less than $1 million and the transponders approximately $4 million. FRA anticipates funding the PTC Contracts, and other PTC-related projects, under a $967.1 million FRA Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing loan.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking an extension of the following currently approved information collection activities. On March 13, 2015, FRA issued its ``Railworthiness Directive Under 49 CFR 180.509 for Railroad Tank Cars Equipped With Certain McKenzie Valve & Machining LLC Valves'' and published this Directive in the Federal Register on March 18, 2015. See 80 FR 14027. Also, on March 18, 2015, FRA published a Notice in the Federal Register requesting immediate Emergency Clearance Processing from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the information collection associated with its Railworthiness Directive Notice No. 1. See 80 FR 14238. On March 19, 2015, OMB granted FRA's request for Emergency Clearance for its Railworthiness Directive Notice No. 1. The information collection activities associated with FRA's Railworthiness Directive Notice No. 1 received a six-month approval. FRA now seeks a regular clearance (extension of the current approval for three years) while tank car owners possessing the thousands of tank cars utilizing these problematic unapproved valves have them removed and replaced with approved valves. FRA has issued this Railworthiness Directive (Directive) to all owners of tank cars used to transport hazardous materials within the United States to ensure they identify and appropriately remove and replace these valves with approved valves consistent with Federal regulations. Before submitting these information collection requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.
This notice of funding availability (NOFA or Notice) details the grant application requirements and submission procedures for obtaining up to $27.8 million in Federal funding, as authorized by sections 1101(a)(18) and 1307 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU, Public Law 109-59 (August 10, 2005)), as amended by section 102 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008, Public Law 110-244 (June 6, 2008), for existing magnetic levitation (maglev) projects located east of the Mississippi River. Pursuant to the Joint Committee statement accompanying the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act, three projects are eligible for funding under this Notice: The ``Pittsburgh project'', the ``Baltimore-Washington project'', and the ``Atlanta- Chattanooga project''. FRA previously announced the availability of funds for maglev projects located east of the Mississippi River pursuant to a NOFA issued on October 16, 2008, but one of the selected applicants has decided not to pursue the project for which the funds were allocated resulting in the availability of the funds for this Notice. Funds awarded under this Notice can be used for preconstruction planning activities and capital costs of a viable maglev project.
Agency Request for Emergency Processing of Collection of Information by the Office of Management and Budget
FRA hereby gives notice that it is submitting the following Information Collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Emergency processing under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations. FRA requests that OMB immediately authorize the collection of information identified below on March 18, 2015, for a period of 180 days.
Railworthiness Directive for Railroad Tank Cars Equipped With Certain McKenzie Valve & Machining LLC Valves
Recent FRA investigations identified several railroad tank cars transporting hazardous materials and leaking small quantities of product from the cars' liquid lines. FRA's investigation revealed that the liquid lines of the leaking tank cars were equipped with a certain type of 3 ball valve marketed and sold by McKenzie Valve and Machining (McKenzie) (formerly McKenzie Valve & Machining Company), an affiliate company of Union Tank Car Company (UTLX). FRA further found certain closure plugs installed on the 3 valves cause mechanical damage to the valves, which leads to the destruction of the valves' seal integrity and that the 3 valves, as well as similarly-designed 1 and 2 valves provided by this manufacturer are not approved for use on tank cars. FRA is issuing this Railworthiness Directive (Directive) to all owners of tank cars used to transport hazardous materials within the United States to ensure they identify and appropriately remove and replace these valves with approved valves consistent with Federal regulations.
This document provides the public notice that FRA has created an electronic mailbox to receive petitions for waivers and exemptions from railroad safety rules and regulations, as well as applications for modification or discontinuance of railroad signal systems (block signal applications) and certain special approvals from railroad safety rules and regulations. The email address for this inbox is FRAWaivers@dot.gov. FRA requests that all railroad safety waiver and exemption requests, as well as block signal applications and special approval applications be submitted either to FRA's Docket Clerk in accordance with the existing requirements in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 211, Rules of Practice, or to this email address.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking renewal of the following currently approved information collection activities. Before submitting these information collection requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires the development and implementation of railroad safety risk reduction programs. This NPRM proposes to implement this mandate by requiring each Class I railroad and each railroad with inadequate safety performance to develop and implement a Risk Reduction Program (RRP) to improve the safety of their operations. RRP is a comprehensive, system- oriented approach to safety that determines an operation's level of risk by identifying and analyzing applicable hazards and involves developing plans to mitigate, if not eliminate, that risk. Each RRP would be statutorily required to include a risk analysis and a technology implementation plan. An RRP would be implemented by a written RRP plan that has been submitted to FRA for review and approval. A railroad would be required to conduct an annual internal assessment of its RRP, and a railroad's RRP processes and procedures would be externally audited by FRA.
Notice of Intent To Grant a Buy America Waiver to the Illinois Department of Transportation for the Use of Sure Close Self-Closing Force Adjustable Gate Hinges
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it intends to grant the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) a waiver from FRA's Buy America requirement for the use of 350 Sure Close gate hinges, which are manufactured in Italy. Self-closing, force adjustable gate hinges are one component of the larger construction project to install pedestrian swing gates in connection with the Chicago-St. Louis High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor project. The Chicago- St. Louis HSR project is funded by a $1.33 billion grant from FRA. The value of the 350 hinges is approximately $110,000.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking renewal of the following currently approved information collection activities. Before submitting the information collection requests (ICRs) below for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.
This Notice announces the establishment of FRA's Emergency Relief Docket (ERD) for calendar year 2015. The designated ERD for calendar year 2015 is Docket Number FRA-2015-0001.
This final rule requires railroads that operate one or more trains through highway-rail or pathway crossings to submit information to the U.S. DOT National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory about the crossings through which they operate. These amendments, mandated by section 204 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, require railroads to submit information about previously unreported and new highway-rail and pathway crossings to the U.S. DOT National Highway- Rail Crossing Inventory and to periodically update existing crossing data.
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the renewal Information Collection Requests (ICRs) abstracted below arebeing forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on October 17, 2014 (79 FR 62513).
This rule maintains the rail equipment accident/incident monetary reporting threshold at $10,500 for railroad accidents/ incidents involving property damage that occur during calendar year (CY) 2015 that FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations require to be reported to the agency. FRA is maintaining the reporting threshold at the CY 2014 level because, in part, wage data for the second-quarter of 2014, (the data used to calculate the threshold) was abnormally high due to retroactive payment of wage increases resulting from labor contract agreements affecting several railroads. FRA believes that the data does not accurately reflect the changes in labor costs for the second-quarter of 2014 and leads to an overinflated threshold calculation for CY 2015. In addition, FRA is maintaining the monetary threshold for CY 2015 at the CY 2014 level while it reexamines the method for calculating the monetary threshold it last updated in 2005.
This notice of determination provides the FRA Administrator's minimum annual random drug and alcohol testing rates for calendar year 2015. According to data from FRA's Management Information System, the rail industry's random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 percent for the last two years. FRA's Administrator has therefore determined that the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, will remain at 25 percent of covered railroad employees. In addition, because the industry-wide random alcohol testing violation rate has remained below 0.5 percent for the last two years, the Administrator has determined that the minimum random alcohol testing rate will remain at 10 percent of covered railroad employees for the period January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. Railroads remain free, as always, to conduct random testing at higher rates.
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the renewal Information Collection Requests (ICR) abstracted below are being forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on September 5, 2014 (79 FR 56616).
Notice of Intent To Grant Buy America Waivers to National Railroad Passenger Corporation and California High-Speed Rail Authority for the Non-Domestic Final Assembly of Four “Prototype” Tier III High-Speed Rail Trainsets
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it intends to grant the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) waivers from FRA's Buy America requirement for the non-domestic final assembly of up to four (two for Amtrak; two for the Authority) ``prototype'' Tier III high-speed rail (HSR) trainsets in connection with the procurement of HSR trainsets. These waivers apply only to the final assembly of up to two prototype HSR trainsets each for Amtrak and the Authority. Each waiver is subject to the following condition: Before issuing a ``Notice To Proceed'' to any selected supplier, Amtrak and the Authority each must certify and provide support to FRA that its selected supplier still has not established domestic manufacturing facilities capable of assembling the prototypes and delivering them within a reasonable time. All components used in the prototypes must still be domestically manufactured or separate waivers for components requested and granted before assembly of the prototypes can commence.
Roadway Worker Authority Limits-Importance of Clear Communication, Compliance with Applicable Rules and Procedures, and Ensuring that Appropriate Safety Redundancies Are in Place in the Event of Miscommunication or Error; Correction
On November 25, 2014, FRA published a document in the Federal Register to reemphasize the importance of clear communication and compliance with applicable rules and procedures regarding roadway worker authority limits on controlled track, and to ensure that appropriate safety redundancies are in place to protect against miscommunication or error. The document contained an incorrect job designation (``foreman'' instead of ``roadway worker in charge'') for an employee in the first incident discussed in the safety advisory that resulted in an employee fatality, and an incorrect location (``Danbury,'' instead of ``West Haven,'' Connecticut) for the second incident that also resulted in an employee fatality. The safety advisory otherwise remains unchanged.