Federal Railroad Administration

News & Analysis as of

Oil Transport: PHMSA Proposes Comprehensive New Rules for High-Hazard Flammable Trains

Proposed sweeping new safety requirements for rail transportation of large quantities of flammable liquids, including crude oil, could increase costs significantly. Since 2013, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT)...more

Amtrak's Metrics-Making Power Hangs In The Balance

In July 2013, the D.C. Circuit ruled that Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 ("PRIIA"), under which Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA") jointly established metrics and...more

Amtrak and Maryland DOT Plan for Improvements to the Vital Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel Moves to the Public Input Stage

The 141-year-old Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel is a major bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor, but Amtrak, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are conducting a...more

FRA Reminds Potential Applicants that Buy America Applies to RRIF

On May 14, the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) posted a reminder that Buy America, a domestic preference law, applies to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (“RRIF”) program. FRA posted the reminder...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

Don’t Get Caught on the Wrong Side of the Track: PHMSA Issues New Safety Alert

On January 2, 2014, the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a safety alert for the purpose of notifying the general public, emergency responders and shippers and carriers that recent...more

How To Fix RRIF (If Congress Wanted To)

Last week I attended an invitation only round table organized by Karen Hedlund, Deputy Administrator for the Federal Railroad Administration. The round table was held in conjunction with the High Speed Rail Conference held...more

Capital Thinking: Transportation and Infrastructure

Legislative Activity - WRDA Reauthorization - Floor consideration of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, has been delayed due to the debate over the continuing...more

Train Explosion Drives Federal Railroad Administration to Issue New Regulations Impacting the Transportation of Petroleum Products

On August 2, 2013 the Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA") released Emergency Order No. 28, Notice No. 1 and Safety Advisory 2013-06 in response to the July 2013 tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada where a cargo train...more

Oil Transportation Safety under Scrutiny by the Federal Railroad Administration

The United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced in a July 29 letter to the American Petroleum Institute that it is investigating the safety of transporting crude oil by rail, citing potential safety issues...more

Positive Train Control Still on the Front Burner

In 2008, Congress mandated the installation of positive train control ("PTC") communications and signaling technology on many passenger and freight rail lines by the end of 2015. 49 U.S.C. § 20157. Congress tasked the...more

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