Revisions to Civil and Criminal Penalties; Penalty Guidelines
In this final rule, the Federal Railroad Administration is revising its regulations to reflect revisions to the penalty provisions in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Title VII of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users), enacted on August 10, 2005. We are also revising baseline assessments for several categories of violations, including those related to training and security plans, in our Civil Penalty Assessment Guidelines. We publish our Guidelines in order to provide the regulated community and the general public with information on the hazardous materials civil penalty assessment process for violations related to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail.
Environmental Impact Statement for Improvements To Enhance the Capacity and Improve the Operation of the Portal Bridge, a Rail Crossing Over the Hackensack River Along the Northeast Corridor Between Kearny, NJ and Secaucus, NJ
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it will jointly prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) with the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT) and in cooperation with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK), to study improvements to enhance the capacity and improve the operation of the Portal Bridge, a two-track moveable swing-span bridge crossing over the Hackensack River along AMTRAK's Northeast Corridor rail line. AMTRAK and NJ TRANSIT are proposing to enhance the capacity and improve the operation of the Portal Bridge. FRA is issuing this notice to solicit public and agency input into the development of the scope of the EIS and to advise the public that outreach activities conducted by NJ TRANSIT and its representatives will be considered in the preparation of the EIS. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is a cooperating agency for the environmental review. FTA will contribute information for which it has special expertise and ensure the EIS is prepared in compliance with its environmental regulations. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) of 1969 and the applicable regulations implementing NEPA as set forth in 64 FR 28545 (May 26, 1999) and 23 CFR part 771. The EIS will also address as necessary Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (49 U.S.C. 303) (DOT Act) and other applicable Federal, and State laws and regulations. The EIS will evaluate a ``No Action Alternative'' along with various build alternatives which could retain, replace, or modify the existing Portal Bridge. Alternatives proposing to retain the existing bridge would include the rehabilitation of the existing structure to a state of good repair, along with the construction of an additional bridge for added capacity. The new bridge could be either a moveable or a fixed bridge and its height above mean high water (MHW) would vary accordingly. The new structure may consist of a two- or three-track bridge. Alternatives proposing to replace the existing bridge would require the construction of two new bridges of varying heights, types, and number of tracks. The two new bridges could be built on new parallel alignments, or one new bridge could be built on the existing bridge alignment by use of a staged approach. Each of these new bridges would have two or three new tracks. Alternatives proposing to modify the existing bridge would entail rehabilitation and raising of the existing bridge to a new height. The existing bridge may be fixed in place or may remain moveable, depending on the proposed height above MHW. A new bridge could also be constructed on a different alignment.
Agency Information Collection Activities
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and 5 CFR 1320.5(b), this notice announces that new information collections requirements (ICRs) listed below have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These new ICRs pertain to 49 CFR parts 227 and 229. Additionally, FRA hereby announces that other ICRs listed below have been re-approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These ICRs pertain to parts 207, 209, 210, 214, 215, 217, 218, 223, 228, 232, 233, 234, 235, and 236. The OMB approval numbers, titles, and expiration dates are included herein under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request
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.
Proposed Revisions to the Schedules of Civil Penalties for a Violation of a Federal Railroad Safety Law or Federal Railroad Administration Safety Regulation
FRA is issuing for comment proposed statements of agency policy that would amend the 25 schedules of civil penalties (Schedules) issued as appendixes to FRA's safety regulations to reflect more accurately the safety risks associated with a violation of each section or subsection of the regulations, as well as to make sure that the civil monetary penalty amounts (CMP) are consistent across all the safety regulations. These proposed revisions to the Schedules are being published to inform members and representatives of the regulated community and the general public of the amount of the civil penalty that a respondent would likely be assessed for a given violation and to invite their comments on those proposed amounts. In addition, FRA is proposing to correct any obvious errors or omissions in the Schedules.
Safety Advisory 2006-05
FRA is issuing Safety Advisory 2006-05 recommending that each railroad operating passenger trains assess the rules, instructions, and procedures used to ensure that a train will not depart a station until all passengers successfully board or alight from the train, and ensure compliance with such rules, instructions, and procedures.
Establishment of an Emergency Relief Docket for Calendar Year 2006
On August 30, 2006, FRA published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) addressing the establishment of emergency relief dockets (ERD) and the procedures for handling petitions for emergency waivers of safety regulations, 71 FR 51517. The IFR provided that each year, FRA will establish an ERD for that year and publish a notice in the Federal Register identifying the docket number of the ERD for that year. This Notice announces the establishment of FRA's ERD for the current year (calendar year 2006). The designated ERD for calendar year 2006 is docket number FRA-2006-25808.
Creation of an Electronic Docket for a Pending Environmental Impact Review on the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad's Powder River Basin Expansion Project Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program Loan Application
FRA is announcing the creation of an electronic docket containing comments submitted to the agency in connection with the agency's environmental and historic preservation review of the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad's application for loan to carry out its Powder River Basin Expansion Project.
Occupational Noise Exposure for Railroad Operating Employees
FRA is amending its occupational noise standards for railroad employees whose predominant noise exposure occurs in the locomotive cab. FRA's previous standard (issued in 1980) limited cab employee noise exposure to certain levels based on the duration of their exposure. This rule modifies that standard and also sets out additional requirements. FRA is requiring railroads to conduct noise monitoring and to implement a hearing conservation program for railroad operating employees whose noise exposure equals or exceeds an 8-hour time- weighted average (TWA) of 85 decibels. FRA is also establishing design, build, and maintenance standards for new locomotives and maintenance requirements for existing locomotives. FRA expects that this rule will reduce the likelihood of noise-induced hearing loss for railroad operating employees.
Passenger Equipment Safety Standards; Miscellaneous Amendments and Attachment of Safety Appliances on Passenger Equipment
FRA is amending its existing regulations in an effort to address various mechanical issues relevant to the manufacture, efficient utilization, and safe operation of passenger equipment and trains that have arisen since FRA's original issuance of the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards. The miscellaneous amendments concentrate on the following five areas: Clarifying the terminology related to piston travel indicators; providing alternative design and additional inspection criteria for new passenger equipment not designed to allow inspection of the application and release of the brakes from outside the equipment; permitting some latitude in the use of passenger equipment with redundant air compressors when a limited number of the compressors become inoperative; recognizing current locomotive manufacturing techniques by permitting an alternative pneumatic pressure test for main reservoirs; and adding provisions to ensure the proper securement of unattended equipment. FRA is also clarifying the existing regulatory requirements related to the attachment of safety appliances and is mandating an identification and inspection protocol to address passenger equipment containing welded safety appliances or welded safety appliance brackets or supports. Finally, FRA is amending the regulations to permit railroads the ability to apply out-of-service credit to certain periodic maintenance requirements related to passenger equipment.
Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that the Information Collection Requirements (ICRs) abstracted below have been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describe 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 collections of information was published on August 2, 2006 (71 FR 43837).
Railroad Operating Rules: Program of Operational Tests and Inspections; Railroad Operating Practices: Handling Equipment, Switches and Derails
Human factors are the leading cause of train accidents, accounting for 38 percent of the total in 2005. Human factors also contribute to employee injuries. The proposed rule would establish greater accountability on the part of railroad management for administration of railroad programs of operational tests and inspections, and greater accountability on the part of railroad supervisors and employees for compliance with those railroad operating rules that are responsible for approximately half of the train accidents related to human factors. Furthermore, this rulemaking is intended to supplant the need for Emergency Order 24, which requires special handling, instruction and testing of railroad operating rules pertaining to hand-operated main track switches in non-signaled territory.
Rules of Practice: Proposed Direct Final Rulemaking Procedures
FRA is proposing direct final rulemaking procedures to expedite the processing of noncontroversial regulatory changes to which no adverse comment is anticipated. Under the proposed procedures, FRA could choose to make routine or otherwise noncontroversial changes in a direct final rule which would become effective a specified number of days after its publication in the Federal Register, provided that no written adverse comment, or no request for a public hearing, was received before the rule's scheduled effective date. FRA would not use direct final rulemaking for complex or controversial matters.
Track Safety Standards; Inspections of Joints in Continuous Welded Rail (CWR)
FRA is amending the Federal Track Safety Standards to improve the inspection of rail joints in continuous welded rail (CWR). On November 2, 2005, FRA published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) addressing the inspection of rail joints in CWR. FRA requested comments on the provisions of the IFR and stated that a final rule would be issued after a review of those comments. This final rule adopts a portion of the IFR and makes changes to other portions. This final rule requires track owners to develop and implement a procedure for the detailed inspection of CWR rail joints and also requires track owners to keep records of those inspections.
Notice of Safety Advisory 2006-04, Notice No. 2
On May 1, 2006, FRA issued Safety Advisory 2006-04 recommending that owners of tank cars equipped with the ACF Industries, Incorporated (ACF) 200 stub sill design, inspect and enhance the underframes of such tank cars in accordance with ACF's Maintenance Bulletin TC-200 (issued in 1994) and by installing the P470 angle application head brace. See 71 FR 26604 (May 5, 2006). The Safety Advisory indicated that owners should contact ACF for a copy of the Maintenance Bulletin and for clarification of procedures and any additional information. This Notice announces the availability of a revised Maintenance Bulletin and updates the contact information for obtaining a copy of the Bulletin.
Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC); Working Group Activity Update
The FRA is updating its announcement of RSAC's Working Group activities to reflect its current status.