Railroads

News & Analysis as of

NEC Future Names Preferred Alternative and Releases the Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement

After nearly four years of planning and evaluation, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released its Preferred Alternative to improve the Northeast Corridor for passenger rail transportation from Washington, DC, to...more

Railroads May Benefit if Trump Keeps Promise to Energize Coal Industry

Most U.S. railroad industry stock rose in the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump's election as president. Optimism surrounding railroad stock may be driven in part by the prospect of a resurgence of the coal industry, since...more

Carriers Advocate for Data-Driven Regulations

Freight carriers of all modes ­– rail, truck, water, air and pipeline – are all in the business of moving cargo for compensation and thus share many similar goals. Furthermore, cargo is often moved in multiple modes in its...more

Rail Issues Before the New Administration

There was a plenty of rail-related activity during the 114th Congress and the last two years of the Obama Administration. Amtrak and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) were reauthorized with major changes to Amtrak's...more

Resolución de Año Nuevo: Tránsito de Miami Beach

Después de acelerar el proceso de solicitud para el proyecto del tren ligero o tranvía moderno de Miami Beach, el mes pasado la comisión de la ciudad de Miami Beach puso un freno. En respuesta a las preocupaciones expresadas...more

New Year’s Resolution: Miami Beach Transit

After expediting the solicitation process for the Miami Beach light rail/modern streetcar project, the Miami Beach City Commission hit the brakes last month. In response to concerns voiced by City residents, the Commission...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Surface Transportation Board Has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Certain Railroad Repair Work

On November 23, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous ruling that the Surface Transportation Board has exclusive jurisdiction over “railroad repair work done at the direction of a federally...more

FRA/OSHA Safety Advisory – Identification and Mitigation of Hazards Through Job Safety Briefings and Hazard Recognition Strategies

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Federal Railroad Administration’s new Safety Advisory seeks to cover activities that fall outside the scope of FRA safety regulations, but within the purview of the OSHA regulations. The Federal...more

What’s in a Name?

On Thursday, November 10, 2016, the Sunset Advisory Commission was called to order to announce decisions concerning the Texas Railroad Commission. The Sunset Commission is composed of five senators, five representatives and...more

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) Continue to Gain Momentum

Although the public-private partnership (P3) model was used to provide most public infrastructure and services until the early 20th Century, for the past several decades, P3s were few and far between in this country....more

Railcars as Point Sources

According to an October 25, 2016 ruling by the District Court for the Western District of Washington, a railcar carrying coal may be a “point source” for pollution under the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 et seq.,...more

Eighth Circuit Opinions Highlight Need to Apply Appellate Lens at Trial Court

We often quip that the best way to establish a winning record as an appellate lawyer is to represent the party that won below; that’s no joke. In nearly every appellate court— state or federal— appellants have an uphill...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - BNSF to appeal ruling blocking California rail yard - Wall Street Journal - Aug 2 - BNSF Railway Co. and the Port of Los Angeles on Tuesday appealed a court ruling against...more

Texas Railroad Commission Sunset

The Texas Sunset Act was passed in 1977 to address the escalation of government budgets and the perception that government bureaucracy was not accountable. The Act applies to 130 agencies and other governmental entities. The...more

New PHMSA Rules on Safety Oil Spill Response Plans and Information Sharing Has Some Carriers Concerned

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Association this month proposed new regulations for trains that transport highly flammable...more

Texas District Court Rejects Rail Contractor’s Delay and Prompt Payment Claims and Awards Owner More Than $3 Million

Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc. v. The Kansas City Southern Railway Company, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39086 (N.D. Tex., March 25, 2016) - The contractor contracted with owner to install 65 miles of railroad track, for a price of...more

2016 Oklahoma Tax Legislation

Investment/New Jobs Credit, $25 Million Cap, 2016-2018. The income tax credit for investment in manufacturing facilities or increasing jobs was amended to provide that for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, and...more

Safety Agencies Expect to Release 9 Rules This Year

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified seven proposals the agency hopes to release as final rules before the end of the year, while the Mine Safety and Health Administration, its sister agency within...more

New Campaign Raises Awareness of Railroad Intersection Dangers

In the wake of the Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania earlier this month, Operation Lifesaver is promoting a new public awareness campaign dedicated to “changing people’s behavior around railroad tracks and crossings.” While...more

On Eve of Freight Rail Day, Thoughts Turn to Access and a Senator of Great Heart

On May 18, 2016, we’ll be helping to run the Massachusetts Railroad Association’s annual Freight Railroad Day on Beacon Hill. The association is a long-time client of ours. This is the day when we, accompanied by the...more

Miscommunication leads to many railway and train accidents

An Amtrak train collided with a maintenance vehicle in Chester, Pennsylvania, killing two Amtrak employees, Backhoe operator Joseph Carter Jr., and supervisor Peter Adamovich in the early morning of April 3, 2016. About 30...more

First Agency Publishes Significant Increase in FCA Penalties; Others Expected to Follow

On May 2, 2016, the Railroad Retirement Board (Board) published an interim final rule in the Federal Register amending its regulations to increase the minimum and maximum civil monetary penalty amounts under the Board’s...more

Crude-by-Rail Update: Largest West Coast Terminal Proposal Suffocating Under Delay

The largest proposed crude-by-rail (CBR) transloading facility on the West Coast recently survived a major hurdle to its ultimate construction and operation—a lease extension. But with the proposed project enduring nearly...more

Real Property & Title Insurance Update: Week Ending April 8, 2016

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - - Sovereign Immunity: DOT prohibited from using sovereign immunity defense in negligence action resulting from railroad crossing accident where DOT bound by crossing agreement, including indemnity...more

Texas Supreme Court: Protections of Governmental Immunity Remain Robust But Are Not Absolute

On April 1, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court, in Houston Belt & Terminal Railroad Co., et al.. v. City of Houston, et al., reviewed the implementation of the City of Houston’s 2011 drainage fee ordinance. ...more

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