Posts Tagged ‘Foxx’

Foxx unveils Build America Investment Center

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Foxx

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today formally unveiled the Department of Transportation’s Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC).

BATIC will serve as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities and project sponsors looking to utilize federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships.

Andrew Curtis Right will serve as the Executive Director of BATIC. Prior to serving at USDOT, Right worked in the financial services industry advising on transportation infrastructure transactions. Right received a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research, with certificates (minors) in Engineering and Management Systems and Public and International Affairs, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University in 1997. He also received an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School in 2003 where he was elected a Baker Scholar, the designation for the top 5 percent of the graduating class.

“With his background in civil engineering and infrastructure financing, no one is more qualified and ready to lead BATIC than Andrew,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “He and his team will provide project partners and potential investors with the clarity and technical assistance they need to move more projects forward and reduce our nation’s infrastructure deficit.”

BATIC was established a year ago and is the product of President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide effort aimed to harness the potential of private capital to complement government funding. BATIC will assist project sponsors to navigate the procedural, permitting, and financial barriers to increased infrastructure investment and development.

BATIC will work with AASHTO through a cooperative agreement to establish The BATIC Institute: An AASHTO Center for Excellence (the Institute). The BATIC Institute will aim to improve State DOTs and other public sector organizations’ ability to effectively employ project finance tools through a program of training, sharing best practices, and technical assistance. As part of this effort, AASHTO and USDOT will work with project sponsors across the country to identify institutional capacity building needs and develop resources.

“Transportation departments are increasingly challenged to find the financial resources needed to maintain and modernize their aging infrastructure systems,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “This Institute is a vital resource for state and local government officials looking to identify and utilize ‘real world’ solutions to finance transportation projects.”

In the fall of 2016, the Department of Transportation will be unveiling a new state of the art center of excellence for BATIC. The space will be modernized to include updated standard design features, modernized technology, and collaborative space designed to foster the “one stop shopping” concept that the BATIC embodies as a core business practice.

Secretary Foxx and Right will travel to New Jersey on Thursday to participate in a BATIC press conference at the Port of Newark.

For more information, please visit www.transportation.gov/BATIC.

DOT clears Richmond-to-Raleigh high-speed rail

Secretary urges continued cooperation to build project. Project would reduce trip time to just over 2 hours from current 3.5.

DOT_Logo_150pxWashington –  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the State of North Carolina and the Commonwealth of Virginia announced today that they have signed off on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Richmond to Raleigh (R2R) passenger rail line along the Southeast Corridor. The completion of the FEIS is one of the final steps necessary before construction of the project can move forward once funding is secured.

“Without a strong passenger rail system, the Southeast’s growth will be choked by congestion for a very long time,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “North Carolina, Virginia and the Department of Transportation have worked together to bring us closer to high-speed rail connecting Richmond and Raleigh, and I urge everyone involved to continue pushing this effort forward. High-speed rail in this region is not a luxury but a necessity.”

The 162-mile route between the two cities would utilize existing and former rail lines for approximately 60 percent of the route and is planned to be free from at-grade crossings of track and roads. This route is part of a larger multi-state planning effort to provide high-speed passenger service between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. In July, Secretary Foxx announced that the Department of Transportation would invest approximately $1 million to develop a regional long-term vision for the corridor and engage states and stakeholders to help the region form a governance organization that can sustain planning efforts and implement the vision.

“Today brings us closer to breaking ground on this critical project for one of the fastest growing areas of the country.  The project will improve safety and reliability, reduce the travel time between Richmond and Raleigh, and increase opportunity for jobs and growth in the Southeast,” FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said.

A recent U.S. Department of Transportation report, Beyond Traffic, in turn found that our country will add 70 million more people by 2045, and that the Southeast will indeed absorb a significant portion of that growth. The FEIS includes responses to comments from citizens, elected officials, residents, businesses and other stakeholders that have been involved in the process.

DOT rules on vehicle electronic stability control

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Foxx

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today that the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized its rule requiring electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy trucks and large buses (FMVSS No. 136).

“ESC is a remarkable safety success story, a technology innovation that is already saving lives in passenger cars and light trucks,” Foxx said. “Requiring ESC on heavy trucks and large buses will bring that safety innovation to the largest vehicles on our highways, increasing safety for drivers and passengers of these vehicles and for all road users.”

ESC works instantly and automatically to maintain directional control in situations where the driver’s own steering and braking cannot be accomplished quickly enough to prevent the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a requirement for ESC on heavy-duty vehicles since 2011. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), enacted in 2012, directed NHTSA to consider an ESC requirement for motorcoaches, which are covered in today’s rule. A rule requiring light-duty vehicles to include ESC took effect in 2012.

“Reducing crashes through ESC in these trucks and buses will save lives – nearly 50 each year. It will move goods and people more efficiently and reduce the toll crashes take on our economy through traffic delays and property damage,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “It’s a win for the safety and convenience of the traveling public and for our economy.”

NHTSA estimates the rule will prevent as many as 1,759 crashes, 649 injuries and 49 fatalities each year. ESC will prevent up to 56 percent of untripped, rollover crashes – that is, rollover crashes not caused by striking an obstacle or leaving the road.

The final rule announced today requires ESC systems on heavy trucks and large buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in gross weight. Compliance will be tested using a “J-turn” test that replicates a curved highway off-ramp. It will take effect for most heavy trucks two years from publication. The requirement will take effect in three years for buses larger than 33,000 pounds and four years for those weighing between 26,000 and 33,000 pounds.

Emergency order sought from Foxx after derailment

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Foxx

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are on the scene today of a BNSF Railway Co. crude-oil train that derailed and caught fire yesterday morning in Heimdal, N.D.

The BNSF train consisted of 109 total cars, 107 of which were loaded with crude oil. Two buffer cars were loaded with sand. Six of the crude oil cars derailed at about 7:30 a.m., resulting in a fire and the town’s evacuation. All other cars were pulled away from the scene to a safe distance. No injuries were reported, according to a statement issued by BNSF. 

The tank cars involved in the incident were the unjacketed CPC-1232 models, which are among the tank-car models slated for retrofits or phasing out under new federal rules governing the safety of crude-by-rail transportation.

Read more from Progressive Railroading.

DOT Takes Action on Movement of Energy Products

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced with its agencies, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a package of targeted actions that will address some of the issues identified in recent train accidents involving crude oil and ethanol shipped by rail. The volume of crude oil being shipped by rail has increased exponentially in recent years, and the number of significant accidents involving trains carrying ethanol or crude oil is unprecedented.

“The boom in crude oil production, and transportation of that crude, poses a serious threat to public safety,” stated U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The measures we are announcing today are a result of lessons learned from recent accidents and are steps we are able to take today to improve safety. Our efforts in partnership with agencies throughout this Administration show that this is more than a transportation issue, and we are not done yet.”

These actions represent the latest in a series of more than two dozen that DOT has initiated over the last nineteen months to address the significant threat to public safety that accidents involving trains carrying highly flammable liquids can represent. Today’s announcement includes one Emergency Order, two Safety Advisories, and notices to industry intended to further enhance the safe shipment of Class 3 flammable liquids.

Actions

  • Preliminary investigation of one recent derailment indicates that a mechanical defect involving a broken tank car wheel may have caused or contributed to the incident. The Federal Railroad Administration is therefore recommending that only the highest skilled inspectors conduct brake and mechanical inspections of trains transporting large quantities of flammable liquids, and that industry decrease the threshold for wayside detectors that measure wheel impacts, to ensure the wheel integrity of tank cars in those trains.
  • Recent accidents revealed that certain critical information about the train and its cargo needs to be immediately available for use by emergency responders or federal investigators who arrive on scene shortly after an incident. To address the information gap, DOT is taking several actions to remind both the oil industry and the rail industry of their obligation to provide these critical details
    • PHMSA is issuing a safety advisory reminding carriers and shippers of the specific types of information (*listed below) that they must make immediately available to emergency responders;
    • FRA and PHMSA are issuing a joint safety advisory requesting that specific information (*listed below) also be made readily available to investigators;
    • FRA is sending a request to the Association of American Railroads asking the industry to develop a formal process by which this specific information (*listed below) becomes available to both emergency responders and investigators within 90 minutes of initial contact with an investigator, and;
    • FRA submitted to the Federal Register a notice proposing to expand the information collected on certain required accident reports, so that information specific to accidents involving trains transporting crude oil is reported.
  • DOT has determined that public safety compels issuance of an Emergency Order to require that trains transporting large amounts of Class 3 flammable liquid through certain highly populated areas adhere to a maximum authorized operating speed limit of 40 miles per hour in High Threat Urban Areas. Under the EO, an affected train is one that contains: 1) 20 or more loaded tank cars in a continuous block, or 35 or more loaded tank cars, of Class 3 flammable liquid; and, 2) at least one DOT Specification 111 (DOT-111) tank car (including those built in accordance with Association of American Railroads (AAR) Casualty Prevention Circular 1232 (CPC-1232)) loaded with a Class 3 flammable liquid.

“These are important, common-sense steps that will protect railroad employees and residents of communities along rail lines. Taking the opportunity to review safety steps and to refresh information before moving forward is a standard safety practice in many industries and we expect the shipping and carrier industries to do the same,” said Acting FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

“Our first priority is to prevent these accidents from ever happening,” stated Acting PHMSA Administrator Tim Butters. “But when accidents do occur, first responders need to have the right information quickly, so we are reminding carriers and shippers of their responsibility to have the required information readily available and up to date.”

The actions taken today coincide with actions being taken by other government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

*Information required by PHMSA Safety Advisory:

  • Basic description and technical name of the hazardous material the immediate hazard to health;
  • Risks of fire or explosion;
  • Immediate precautions to be taken in the event of an accident;
  • Immediate methods for handling fires;
  • Initial methods for handling spills or leaks in the absence of fire;
  • Preliminary first aid measures; and
  • 24-hour telephone number for immediate access to product information.

*Information sought by U.S. DOT in the event of a crude-by-rail accident: 

  • Information on the train consist, including the train number, locomotive(s), locomotives as distributed power, end-of-train device information, number and position of tank cars in the train, tank car reporting marks, and the tank car specifications and relevant attributes of the tank cars in the train.
  • Waybill (origin and destination) information
  • The Safety Data Sheet(s) or any other documents used to provide comprehensive emergency response and incident mitigation information for Class 3 flammable liquids
  • Results of any product testing undertaken prior to transportation that was used to properly characterize the Class 3 flammable liquids for transportation (initial testing)
  • Results from any analysis of product sample(s) (taken prior to being offered into transportation) from tank car(s) involved in the derailment
  • Date of acceptance as required to be noted on shipping papers under 49 CFR § 174.24.
  • If a refined flammable liquid is involved, the type of liquid and the name and location of the company extracting the material
  • The identification of the company having initial testing performed (sampling and analysis of material) and information on the lab (if external) conducting the analysis.
  • Name and location of the company transporting the material from well head to loading facility or terminal.
  • Name and location of the company that owns and that operates the terminal or loading facility that loaded the product for rail transportation.
  • Name of the Railroad(s) handling the tank car(s) at any time from point of origin to destination and a timeline of handling changes between railroads.

Since 2013 there have been 23 crude-related train accidents in the United States with the majority of incidents occurring without the release of any crude oil product.

 

Foxx urged to re-evaluate impact of trucks on roads

triple_trailerWASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory A. Booker (D-N.J) with U.S. Representatives James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) March 26 wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging him to review results of a 2012 DOT study on the impact of heavy commercial trucks on the nation’s roads and highways prior to publicly releasing the study results, noting their concerns with the study’s methodology and data.

“The deteriorating nature of our infrastructure can hardly be overstated. As the administration noted in its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016, ‘65 percent of America’s roads are rated in less than good condition,’” they wrote. “DOT has taken several steps to conduct the study, and we appreciate DOT’s focus on the issue…as we noted in letters last Congress, there appeared to be conflicts of interest in the selection of the study’s contractor and the bases of its findings on flawed data and poor methodology. These issues must be addressed and corrected.”

“It is troubling that DOT could release a study that recommends bigger, heavier trucks that will lead to more potholes and even greater problems – like safety risks, environmental damage, and economic harm – not to mention higher expenses to maintain our infrastructure. For these and so many other reasons, DOT needs to fix the fatal flaws inherent in the study that is now underway.”

Read the complete letter here.

NFAC issues recommendations for freight system

DOT_Logo_150pxWASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx July 14 announced receipt of a report from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) that makes recommendations to improve the performance of the Nation’s freight transportation system. These recommendations will be used to inform the development of the DOT’s National Freight Strategic Plan.

The report was submitted to the Secretary ahead of a two-day NFAC meeting in Washington, D.C., beginning July 15. The NFAC was established by Secretary LaHood in June 2013.

SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich is a member of the committee. 

“Our nation’s economic competitiveness depends on a transportation network that can move freight safely and efficiently, especially as we are expected to move double the current amount by 2050,” said Secretary Foxx. “I appreciate the work of the advisory committee – their suggestions will help inform the department’s work improving our country’s future freight system.”

The 81 recommendations made by NFAC, now under review by the department, include suggestions to improve safety and security across the freight rail network, highlight funding needs and challenges, and call for increased streamlining processes and better collection of data and research. The NFAC also proposed exploring ways to improve collaboration for multijurisdictional freight planning, developing goals related to freight safety, and addressing workforce development needs as the Department develops the National Freight Strategic Plan. A copy of the report may be found here: http://www.dot.gov/policy-initiatives/national-freight-advisory-committee/recommendations-us-department-transportations.

Together, these recommendations highlight the need for increased transportation investment and greater certainty to support the kind of research and planning such projects would require. Earlier this year, Secretary Foxx submitted the GROW AMERICA Act for consideration by Congress. This Act will make critical investments to help improve the safe and efficient movement of freight across all modes of transportation – highway, rail, port, and pipeline by providing $10 billion over four years for targeted investments in the nation’s transportation system to improve the movement of freight and by giving shippers, transportation providers, and freight workers a real seat at the table for making investment decisions. The GROW AMERICA Act will also better align planning among the Federal government, states, ports, and local communities to improve decision-making and help improve the U.S.’s long-term competitiveness by taking steps to achieve President Obama’s call to reduce the time it takes to break ground on a new transportation project.

To help DOT promote a safe, economically efficient, and environmentally sustainable freight transportation system, the NFAC provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to freight transportation in the United States including (1) implementation of the freight transportation requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21); (2) establishment of the National Freight Network; (3) development of a National Freight Strategic Plan; (4) development of strategies to help States implement State Freight Advisory Committees and State Freight Plans; (5) development of measures of conditions and performance in freight transportation; (6) development of freight transportation investment, data, and planning tools; and (7) legislative recommendations. More information on the NFAC may be found here: http://www.dot.gov/nfac.

Senators introduce short line safety bill

railyard, train yard; trainsWASHINGTON –U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation, respectively, June 17 introduced a bill that would authorize a new Short Line Rail Safety Institute to enhance the safety practices and culture of short line railroads. There are 550 short line railroad companies that operate over 50,000 miles of track, or nearly one third of the national railroad network. The tracks can be as short as two miles or up to more than 1,000 miles long.

The legislation introduced by Sens. Collins and Murray would authorize funding to support grants for research, development, evaluation, and training efforts.

“Whether a train is carrying crude oil on a major rail line or on a short, local route through small towns across America, we need to make sure everyone is safe, both on the train and near the tracks,” Senator Murray said. “We need to have the right policies in place to prevent accidents and respond to emergencies wherever they happen, and establishing a Short Line Rail Safety Institute is a strong step in the right direction.”

“The horrific derailment that occurred in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last year – just 30 miles from the Maine border – brought to light the importance of ensuring the safe transportation of energy products,” Senator Collins said. “We must ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to prevent another Lac-Megantic, while not overburdening an industry that has a proven track record of safety.”

The new Short Line Rail Safety Institute would:

  • Assess the operations and safety programs of short line railroads;
  • Develop best practices and work with short lines to implement these practices;
  • Provide professional on-site safety training for short line employees;
  • Purchase and utilize safety training assets (such as locomotive simulators);
  • Assist FRA in implementing its railroad R&D and outreach programs, and tailor such programs for short line railroad operations; and
  • Help improve safety culture, including a reduction in the frequency and severity of injuries and incidents, as well as improved compliance with regulatory requirements.

On May 15, the two senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx expressing support for the creation of such an institution.

“As we discussed when you testified before our Subcommittee, there is no silver bullet to improving rail safety. It is a complicated multi-faceted issue involving prevention, mitigation, and response aspects,” the Senators wrote in the May 15 letter. “The proposed Short Line Railroad Safety Institute could be an important part of the larger solution and would help improve the safe transportation of crude oil and other hazardous materials.”

The bill follows an April hearing held by Murray and Collins to specifically focus on safety issues related to rail shipment of crude oil. Secretary Foxx, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman, Director of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management Barb Graff, and Rangeley, Maine, Fire Chief Tim Pellerin, who led emergency response efforts after a train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in 2013, each testified at that hearing.

Obama sends transportation bill to Congress

capitolThe Obama administration on Tuesday (April 29) sent a bill to Congress that aims to cover an expected shortage in money to spend on America’s bridges, roads and transit systems, but Republican opposition could prevent its passage.

Funding for the four-year, $302 billion legislation would come partly from ending certain tax breaks for businesses, a provision opposed by many Republicans. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the administration would be open to other ideas to raise the money.

Read the complete story at Reuters.

AFL-CIO's TTD thanks Foxx for engaging labor

WASHINGTON – Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, issued this statement in support of U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s effort to highlight the importance of investing in America’s surface transportation needs, and applauded the Secretary’s effort to engage transportation labor:

“In today’s economy, where there are too few jobs and too many potholes and aging transit systems, investing in infrastructure is an obvious and desperately-needed step that will keep America competitive. We applaud Secretary Foxx for crisscrossing the United States this week to highlight our crumbling infrastructure and the desperate need to advance a multi-year investment in our surface transportation system.

“We are also pleased that Secretary Foxx reached out to transportation unions as partners in this effort. Today we participated in a thoughtful and productive call with the Secretary during his latest stop in Louisiana and pledged our shared commitment to address the pending insolvency of the High Trust Fund and convince lawmakers that short-term stopgap funding measures will not cut it.

“Transportation should not be a partisan issue. The American people and businesses of all sizes need safe and efficient passenger and freight transportation systems. They know first-hand what it means to live with deteriorating infrastructure and transit systems that face rising demand and badly stressed budgets. “We pledge our full support to the Secretary’s effort to expand our surface transportation system, create millions of jobs and build a legacy we can be proud to pass on to the next generation. We can’t afford to wait.”

DOT's Foxx urges safer rail tank cars

oil-train-railWASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday asked oil-by-rail leaders to create a tank car fit to carry the kinds of fuel involved in recent fiery derailments even as he dodged lawmaker questions about when such a plan would be ready.

Rail shipments of oil have been on the rise in regions that lack sufficient pipelines such as North Dakota’s Bakken energy patch, where production is nearing 1 million barrels per day and roughly 72 percent of that fuel moves on the tracks.

Read the complete story at Inforum.com.

FRA to issue proposed rule on minimum train crews

FRA_logo_wordsWASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration April 9 announced its intention to issue a proposed rule requiring two-person train crews on crude oil trains and establishing minimum crew size standards for most main line freight and passenger rail operations. The FRA also intends to advance a rulemaking on train securement and recommends a rulemaking on the movement of hazardous materials.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to taking the necessary steps to assure the safety of those who work for railroads and shippers, and the residents and communities along shipping routes,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The proposed rulemaking on crew size is the latest effort in our comprehensive strategy to ensure crude oil is transported as safely as possible.”

The announcement follows the deliberations of three Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) Working Groups on Appropriate Train Crew Size, Securement and Hazardous Materials Issues. All three working groups were created at DOT’s request last summer in response to the Lac-Mégantic derailment. The emergency meeting was held to evaluate and consider wide-ranging proposals to further enhance railroad safety including the safe shipment of crude oil by rail. Two of the working groups produced recommendations that were adopted by the full RSAC for consideration in future rulemakings. In light of the working group’s failure to reach consensus on crew size, the FRA took action today to move forward with a rule-making.

“We believe that safety is enhanced with the use of a multiple person crew – safety dictates that you never allow a single point of failure,” FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo said. “Ensuring that trains are adequately staffed for the type of service operated is critically important to ensure safety redundancy. We commend the RSAC’s efforts and will use the valuable input received to formulate a proposed rule that protects the public and recognizes the nuance of railroad operations.”

“The FRA’s RSAC process confirmed that rail operational safety is enhanced with the use of a multiple-person crew,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich. “Both the conductor and locomotive engineer are certified and licensed under federal regulations and work cooperatively as a team. During this working group process, the committee also confirmed that there are many required tasks that are performed by our train crews each day in normal operations that a single crew member cannot perform by themselves.

“It takes two skilled and qualified employees to perform a normal brake test, to separate a train at a highway-rail crossing, to receive and acknowledge mandatory directives while moving, to make routine pick up and set out of cars from the train, and also to act as a first responder for indicated defects in equipment, derailments, unexpected application of brakes, and highway-rail crossing collisions.”

While existing FRA regulations do not mandate minimum crew staffing requirements, current industry practice is to have two-person crews for over-the-road operations. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) will most likely require a minimum of two-person crews for most mainline train operations, including those trains carrying crude oil. It is also expected to include appropriate exceptions.

“Safety is good business in the rail industry. We are very disappointed that the Association of American Railroads and some short line railroads continue to keep their head in the sand when confronted with critical safety concerns. AAR continues to ignore the preventable accident that occurred less than 20 miles north of our border,” Previsich added.

FRA plans to issue an additional NPRM based on the consensus recommendations of the Securement Working Group and approved by the full RSAC that would prohibit certain unattended freight trains or standing freight cars on main track or sidings and require railroads to adopt and implement procedures to verify securement of trains and unattended equipment for emergency responders. It would also require locomotive cabs to be locked and reversers to be removed and secured. Railroads would also be required to obtain advance approval from FRA for locations or circumstances where unattended cars or equipment may be left.

The full RSAC also approved four recommendations of the Hazardous Materials Issues Working Group relating to identification, classification, operational control and handling of certain shipments. The four recommendations, directed to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), include amending or revising the definitions of “residue” and “key train,” and clarifying its regulatory jurisdiction over the loading, unloading and storage of hazmat before and during transportation. PHMSA continues to advance a rulemaking addressing the integrity of DOT Specification 111 tanker cars and the safe shipment by rail of flammable materials such as crude oil.

On Aug. 29, 2013, the first-ever emergency session of the RSAC was held in response to the July 6, 2013, derailment of an unattended Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway freight train containing crude oil in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada. Building upon Foxx’s February agreement with the rail and petroleum industries, the FRA’s Emergency Order 28 and Safety Advisory 2013-06, PHMSA’s Operation Safe Delivery, Safety Alerts and a DOT Emergency Order, the three RSAC working groups reviewed existing regulations and standards to identify and mitigate the risks posed by such shipments and prevent future accidents.

“The unfortunate tragedy in Lac-Mégantic highlighted the need for sanity in intercity rail operations,” said SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director James Stem. “Operating a long freight train through the communities that our industry serves with only one person on a crew is not only unsafe, but is also unsustainable.

“The safety improvements in our industry are directly linked to the training and certification of the two professionals on the locomotives and the other professional employees and their managers that are operating, repairing and maintaining our rail network throughout the United States. Our rail industry today is enjoying record profits, record productivity, and every stock broker is recommending a ‘buy’ on all railroad stocks. There is no argument that the current regulatory scheme in place today is a critical component of that productivity, and thus the high level of profitability.”