Transportation Administrative Agency

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Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Review D.C. Circuit Decision Hampering Amtrak's On-Time Performance

On June 23rd, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s Writ of Certiorari to review the decision of the D.C. Circuit that many believe may be hampering Amtrak’s leverage with freight railroads and its on-time...more

Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Oil and Gas Operations—Q and A

The desire to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in commercial operations is steadily building. A wide variety of businesses would like to use these devices to improve efficiency and safety, and reduce costs. One field that...more

Congress Considers Transportation Appropriations Provisions, Other Legislation Impacting Aviation

On Capitol Hill, legislators are working to pass a Transportation Appropriations bill that will fund aviation programs during the 2015 fiscal year. As part of the appropriations process, members of the House and Senate are...more

Eight Is Not Enough: CEQA Challenge To Eighth Addendum To San Jose International Airport Master Plan EIR Is Rejected By Sixth...

In a decision filed June 6, but not certified for publication until July 2, 2014, the Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment upholding the City of San Jose’s eighth addendum to its Airport Master...more

Can I Fly or Can’t I Fly? Drones in the Wake of the NTSB’s Pirker Opinion

One of the fastest-evolving areas of aviation is the use of drones. Although “drone” is the popular term, it is not used in the industry, which initially used “unmanned aerial vehicle,” or UAV. Originally Published in...more

Illinois Appellate Court: School District’s Subcontracting of Transportation Services is “Part of Bargaining Process” and an...

The Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District recently found that a school district did not engage in any unfair labor practices when it subcontracted student transportation services to a third-party vendor and...more

Air Marshal Whistleblower v. TSA: Supreme Court to Blow Final Whistle

On July 25, 2014, the U.S. Government will submit its opening brief to the Supreme Court in the decade-long battle that began when the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) terminated former air marshal-turned...more

Federal Regulatory Agenda Update - June 2014

Federal regulatory activity is at an all-time high, with more than 3,700 regulations in just the past year. This has caused the Code of Federal Regulations to grow to 238 volumes with nearly 175,000 pages – 4,000 of which...more

Industry Takes Steps to Address Safety of Crude Oil Shipments

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of Bakken crude...more

Drones: A Bird’s-Eye View of the (Non-Privacy) Legal Landscape for UAS

A recent near midair collision between U.S. Airways Flight 4650, a CRJ-200 jet with a 50- passenger capacity, and a drone has (deservedly) sparked a flurry of commentary regarding safe drone operation. This near miss, which...more

FDA Proposes Regulations on Safe Food Transport

In early February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its seventh and final major rule as part of the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The proposed rule seeks to prevent the contamination...more

The FAA’s “Regulations” Pertaining to Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Amazon’s ambitious proposal to use a fleet of unmanned aircraft systems to deliver packages may seem like a novelty announced years before its time, but the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems is already here. The...more

EPA Asks STB to Resolve Preemption Question

The Administrator of Region IX of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a declaratory order to address whether locomotive idling rules issued by the South Coast...more

The Impact of New Heavy Vehicle Regulations in the Road Transport Industry

With the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) beginning in February 2014 and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal's first Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO) commencing in early May 2014, this year promises to be challenging...more

FTA And FHWA Issue New MAP-21 Guidance That Could Penalize Wildlife Agencies

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Pub. L. 112-141, governs Federal funding and authorization for certain surface transportation projects. Included in MAP-21 is a provision requiring all Federal...more

The Federal Aviation Administration Appeals Most Recent Drone Ruling

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has appealed this month's ruling by an administrative law judge striking down a fine against paid photographer who had strapped cameras to a model airplane and photographed the...more

FAA Lacks Authority to Ground Small UAVs Used for Commercial Purposes

A victory for a small commercial unmanned aerial vehicle operator demonstrates the Federal Aviation Administration’s struggle to keep pace with new technologies. On March 6, 2014, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of...more

Administrative Law Judge Rules Camera-Equipped Model Airplanes Are Cleared for Take-Off

A ruling by an administrative law judge punches a hole through the FAA's ban on the unlicensed use of commercial drones. The decision may be significant for ongoing discussions in Congress and in Indian Country about drone...more

9th Circ. Simplifies Enviro Process For Transit Projects

In a decision of national importance for transit and highway projects, on Feb. 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected environmental challenges to the 20-mile Honolulu Rail Transit Project. On the same day, the...more

Decision Yesterday Deals Blow to FAA Prohibition on the Use of Commercial Drones

In a setback to the FAA's ban on the unlicensed use of commercial drones, a federal administrative law judge has ruled that the FAA could not fine a Virginia man who used a model aircraft to take photographs and film for...more

Safety Alerts and Other Recommendations in the Wake of Rail Accidents Involving Bakken Formation Crude Oil

Recent accidents involving rail cars transporting crude oil from the Bakken shale region have resulted in the heightened interest of rail industry regulators and other federal agencies, including the Pipeline and Hazardous...more

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Halted in Nebraska

On Wednesday, a Nebraska District Court dealt the Keystone XL pipeline project a heavy blow. The court invalidated a law that allowed the state's governor to approve the pipeline's passage through Nebraska. The court ruled...more

FAA Selects Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Sites; Regulatory Questions Remain

FAA Action - On December 30, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has selected six public entities to serve as research and testing sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). In selecting the...more

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Gas Utility's Rate Schedule Containing a Cost of Service Adjustment Clause

On January 17, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court held that the Railroad Commission of Texas (the "Commission") has the authority to adopt a gas utility rate schedule providing for automatic annual adjustments based on increases...more

Railroad Commission Order Clarifies Scope of the Common Carrier Act

Last week, in a 3-0 decision, the Railroad Commission of Texas ("Railroad Commission") overturned a Hearings Examiner's interim ruling that the Common Carrier Act does not apply to a pipeline transporting ethylene. In a case...more

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