Railways

News & Analysis as of

The Future of Rail 2050

California’s High-Speed Rail project is . . . well . . . very California. Mix some forward, independent thinking (it was first proposed by then (and now) Governor Brown back in the 1980s), with a dash of high tech...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Environmental Groups’ RCRA Claims Against Railyard Operators

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of claims by environmental groups attempting to characterize air emissions from California railyards as “disposal” of waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)....more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes New Regulations for High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, amidst claims that hydraulic fracturing could be causing earthquakes in some parts of Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission proposed amendments to permitting regulations for injection wells. The proposed rules...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Appellate court upholds environmental work for high-speed rail via Pacheco Pass: Fresno Bee - Jul 24 -- State appeals justices on Thursday upheld a lower court's approval of an...more

Secretary Foxx Holds Virtual National Town Hall, Addresses Transportation Policy

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx chaired a “virtual” town hall meeting, entitled “Moving from Uncertainty to Long-Term Transportation Investment,” on August 6, 2014. The town hall was open to the general public, as...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

Energy Newsletter - August 2014

In This Issue: - Fifth Circuit Reins In Trend of Expanding ESA Liability for Remote Harm - Japan's Pivotal Role in the Global LNG Industry's 50-Year History - Government of Greece to Launch New Licensing...more

Rating Agency Developments

On July 31, Moody’s released its rating methodology for global manufacturing companies. On July 25, Fitch released its global rating criteria for Corporate CDOs. On July 25, DBRS issued its methodology for rating companies in...more

Rules for Rail Transport of Crude Oil and Ethanol Still a Work in Progress

In response to rail accidents over the past several years involving crude oil and ethanol, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has been working with industry stakeholders and the National Transportation Safety Board...more

Of High Speed Rails and Litigation Snails: The Train Rolls On As Third District Rejects Additional CEQA Challenges To High-Speed...

While CEQA actions are statutorily designed as special proceedings with priority over other civil actions, and thus mandated to be heard and resolved expeditiously, when complex or controversial projects with dedicated...more

Capital Thinking: Energy

DOT PUBLISHES NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR NEW RAIL SAFETY STANDARDS - On Wednesday, July 23, the Department of Transportation (DOT) released a proposed rule designed to enhance the transportation safety of oil...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

The Maryland "Purple Line" Transit Project Releases its Final Request for Proposals

On July 28, 2014, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) issued the final request for proposals for a public-private partnership to design, build, finance, operate and...more

USDOT Proposes New Rules for Rail Transport of Fossil Fuels

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“Administration”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) for...more

State and Local Communities Respond to Crude-by-Rail Safety Issue

July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more

Speculation Mounts Over Impending Crude By Rail Rule

As speculation over the federal government’s forthcoming rule on rail shipments of crude oil grows, two items hit the press last week increasing speculation over the details of the reforms. ...more

The Shortened Shanghai Free Trade Zone Negative List: One Small Step for Reform…

Amidst high hopes in the foreign investment community for a streamlined framework regulating inbound investment to the PRC, China’s State Council launched the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (the “SFTZ” or “Zone”) in...more

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari To Two State Tax Cases

On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to two state tax cases, just one day after denying certiorari in the Mississippi Equifax case. The two cases, which will be heard during the Court’s October 2014 term,...more

Railway Age Crude By Rail Conference Profiles Key Players, Key Issues in Crude By Rail Debate

On June 12 and 13, 2014, Railway Age’s Crude by Rail Conference and Expo brought together representatives from the oil and gas industry, railroads, rail car manufacturers, Federal government, emergency response organizations...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus: Long-term money a big boost for California's high-speed rail - Contra Costa Times - Jun 17: Gov. Jerry Brown scored a win for California's $68 billion high-speed rail project by...more

Update from the American Public Transportation Association 2014 Rail Conference

The American Public Transportation Association (“APTA”) held its Rail Conference on June 15 through 18, 2014, in Montréal, QC. In addition to the technical sessions for which APTA is well-known, a main theme of the Rail...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Kings County lawsuit challenges Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail: Fresno Bee - Jun 5: The Kings County Board of Supervisors, the Farm Bureau, and a group of county residents filed...more

California Legislators Propose Two Bills on Crude by Rail

Two measures have been introduced in the California legislature to respond to the growth of crude-by-rail volume in the state. State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has introduced SB 1319, which would expand...more

Increased Crude Oil Rail Shipments Drive Boost in Funding for DOT HazMat Programs

By a vote of 29-1, on June 5, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation (S. 2438) funding fiscal year (FY) 2015 activities for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT’s programs for crude oil and...more

Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, Federal Railroad Administration and Indiana DOT Celebrate Commencement of Construction on the Indiana...

Last week, officials from Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and the Federal Railroad Administration and Indiana Governor Mike Pence gathered to celebrate commencement of construction on the Indiana Gateway Project....more

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