Adjustment of Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold
In accordance with Appendix D to Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 222, Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, FRA is updating the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT). This action is needed to ensure that the public has the proper threshold of permissible risk for calculating quiet zones established in relationship to the NSRT. This is the fourth update to the NSRT, which has fallen from 18,775 to 14,007.
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 describes the nature of the information collections and their expected burdens. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collections of information was published on October 18, 2010 (75 FR 63889).
Alcohol and Drug Testing: Determination of Minimum Random Testing Rates for 2011
Using data from Management Information System annual reports, FRA has determined that the 2009 rail industry random testing positive rates were .037 percent for drugs and .014 percent for alcohol. Because the industry-wide random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 percent for the last two years of data, the Federal Railroad Administrator (Administrator) has determined that the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011, 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, 2011, through December 31, 2011.
Environmental Impact Statement for the Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee Intermodal Station) to Minneapolis, MN (Minneapolis Transportation Interchange) Rail Corridor
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared for the Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (Milwaukee-Twin Cities) High- Speed Rail Corridor Program. The project includes passenger stations, maintenance facilities, and the construction of a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities. This corridor is part of a larger network of high-speed passenger rail corridors in the Midwest, with a hub in Chicago, IL. The effort to develop these high-speed rail corridors and expand the passenger rail system in the Midwest is known as the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI). 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 FRA will be considered in the preparation of the EIS. Alternatives under consideration include taking no action (No Build), as well as several build alternatives along a variety of corridors between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities.
Risk Reduction Program
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires the development and implementation of railroad safety risk reduction programs. Risk reduction is a comprehensive, system-oriented approach to safety that determines an operation's level of risk by identifying and analyzing applicable hazards and develops plans to mitigate that risk. Each Risk Reduction Program (RRP) is statutorily required to be supported by a risk analysis and a Risk Reduction Program Plan (RRPP), which must include a Technology Implementation Plan and a Fatigue Management Plan. This ANPRM solicits public comment on a potential rulemaking that would require each Class I railroad, each railroad with an inadequate safety record, and each passenger railroad to submit an RRPP to FRA for its review and approval. Each of those railroads would ultimately be required to implement its approved RRP.
Adjustment of Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents for Calendar Year 2011
This rule increases the rail equipment accident/incident reporting threshold from $9,200 to $9,400 for certain railroad accidents/incidents involving property damage that occur during calendar year 2011. This action is needed to ensure that FRA's reporting requirements reflect cost increases that have occurred since the reporting threshold was last computed in December of 2009.
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.
Revised Proposal for Revisions to the Schedules of Civil Penalties for a Violation of a Federal Railroad Safety Law or Federal Railroad Administration Safety Regulation or Order; Reopening and Extending the Comment Period
Due to comments received from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) during the initial comment period, FRA is reopening the comment period for its proposal published on September 21, 2010. The proposal, if adopted, would amend, line by line, FRA's schedules of civil penalties issued as appendices to FRA's rail safety regulations, as well as other guidance. AAR stated in its comments on the proposal that FRA did not give the railroad industry adequate time to review all the penalties listed in the proposal to determine if they match the severity-scale criteria, which are also listed in the proposal. Therefore, FRA is reopening and extending the comment period in order to allow AAR more time to review the penalties in the severity scale and to identify and comment more fully on which individual penalties do not in its opinion satisfy the severity-scale criteria. FRA also seeks further comments from other interested parties that were unable to comment during the initial comment period. The comment period is reopened until February 1, 2011.
Notice of Intent To Grant Buy America Waiver to Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority To Purchase 3,340 AREMA Specified Carbon Steel Standard 11/8
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it intends to grant the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority's (NNEPRA) waiver request from FRA's Buy America requirement, 49 U.S.C. 24405(a), for the purchase and use of 3,340 AREMA specified carbon steel standard 1\1/8\ nominal diameter nuts. FRA intends to grant the waiver because there are no domestic commercially available track nuts that meet the needed specifications and custom made fabricated track nuts that cannot be delivered for 10-16 weeks are not ``reasonably available'' under 49 U.S.C. 24405(a)(2)(B), especially given NNEPRA has mobilized for the track construction and Maine has a short construction season. In addition, NNEPRA used a competitive bidding process to procure the track nuts and no bidders came forward at that time who could comply with Buy America. Finally, FRA published public notice of the NNEPRA waiver request in the Federal Register on August 2, 2010. This notice also failed to identify a reasonably available domestic source. 49 U.S.C. 24405(a)(4) requires that the Secretary provide public notice of a determination that it is necessary to waive the Buy America requirement and provide a maximum fifteen day opportunity for public comment before the waiver becomes final.
Notice of Finding of No Significant Impact for the Washington State Portion of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Upgrades Tier-1 Environmental Assessment
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (FRA Environmental Procedures) (64 FR 28545 (May 26, 1999)), the FRA and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) prepared a Tier-1 Environmental Assessment (Tier-1 EA) that evaluates the impacts of a corridor improvements program to the Washington State portion of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC Program). This notice advises the public that FRA finds that the corridor improvement program will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human or natural environment and has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) supporting that determination. Copies of both the Tier-1 EA and FONSI are available on FRA's Web site at http://www.fra.dot.gov/ rpd/freight/3011.shtml.
Railroad Safety Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting
FRA announces the forty-third meeting of the RSAC, a Federal advisory committee that develops railroad safety regulations through a consensus process. The RSAC meeting topics will include opening remarks from the FRA Administrator, and status reports will be provided by the Passenger Hours of Service, Training Standards, Track Safety Standards, Passenger Safety, and Medical Standards Working Groups. Further discussions will also be held on the previously accepted RSAC Task 10- 02 regarding the Development, Use, and Implementation of Rail Safety Technology in Dark Territory. This agenda is subject to change, including the possible addition of further proposed tasks under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
FRA proposes to prescribe regulations for certification of conductors, as required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The proposed rule would require railroads to have a formal program for certifying conductors. As part of that program, railroads would be required to have a formal process for training prospective conductors and determining that all persons are competent before permitting them to serve as a conductor. FRA is proposing this regulation to ensure that only those persons who meet minimum Federal safety standards serve as conductors, to reduce the rate and number of accidents and incidents, and to improve railroad safety. Although this NPRM does not propose any specific amendments to the regulation governing locomotive engineer certification, it does highlight areas in that regulation that may require conforming changes.
Miscellaneous Amendments to the Federal Railroad Administration's Accident/Incident Reporting Requirements
This final rule revises FRA's existing regulations addressing accident/incident reporting in order to clarify ambiguous regulations and to enhance the quality of information available for railroad casualty analysis. In addition, FRA has revised the FRA Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports (FRA Guide), its accident/incident recording and reporting forms and its Companion Guide: Guidelines for Submitting Accident/Incident Reports by Alternative Methods (Companion Guide).
Draft Finding of No Significant Impact on the Tier 1 Ohio 3C Quick Start Passenger Rail Tier-1 Environmental Assessment
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (FRA Environmental Procedures) (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999), the FRA and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) prepared a Tier-1 Environmental Assessment (Tier-1 EA) that evaluates the impacts of the 3C Quick Start Passenger Rail Project. Based on the Tier-1 EA, the FRA has prepared a draft finding of no significant impact (draft FONSI) and is inviting the public to comment on the draft.
Notice Regarding Consideration and Processing of Applications for Financial Assistance Under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program
By this document, FRA is issuing a technical correction to the notice published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2010 (75 FR 60165) regarding consideration and processing of applications for financial assistance under the RRIF Program.
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 approval of the following 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.
Safety Advisory 2010-03
FRA is issuing Safety Advisory 2010-03 to remind railroads and their employees of the importance of situational awareness and the need to stay alert whenever the job that is being performed changes, particularly in main track territory. This safety advisory contains various recommendations to railroads to ensure that these issues are addressed by appropriate policies and procedures.
Emergency Escape Breathing Apparatus Standards
FRA is proposing to amend its regulations related to occupational safety and health in locomotive cabs in three ways. First and foremost, pursuant to a 2008 Congressional mandate, FRA is proposing to include requirements that railroads provide an appropriate atmosphere-supplying emergency escape breathing apparatus (EEBA) to the members of the train crew and certain other employees while they are occupying the locomotive cab of a freight train transporting a hazardous material that would pose an inhalation hazard in the event of release during an accident. Second, FRA is proposing to reflect the additional subject matter by changing the name of the part from ``Occupational Noise Exposure'' to ``Occupational Safety and Health in the Locomotive Cab'' and by making other conforming amendments. Third, FRA is proposing to remove the provision on the preemptive effect of the requirements as unnecessary.