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 https://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.