Railways

News & Analysis as of

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

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

Industry Group Study Says Bakken Crude Poses No Different Risks Than Other Crude Shipped By Rail

As rail shipments of crude oil moving out of North Dakota’s Bakken formation have risen in recent years, so have derailments of trains carrying crude oil throughout the United States and Canada. One facet of the debate over...more

Editorial: Miami-Dade Rail Link Could Be Model For Future Projects

The use of public-private partnerships (P3s), especially in the transportation sector, is gaining steam in South Florida. Proposed projects have included Miami-Dade College Medical Campus expansion, red-light cameras,...more

High-Speed Rail Fresno to Bakersfield Route Approved

The California High Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) Board of Directors unanimously voted on Wednesday to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the Fresno to Bakersfield...more

With Increased Federal Scrutiny, State Governments Look To Expand Oil-By-Rail Oversight

With the federal Department of Transportation’s recent emergency order impacting those who transport crude oil by rail, state governments are likewise considering additional regulatory oversight that could affect the industry...more

President Obama Delivers Transportation Authorization "GROW AMERICA" Act to Congress

On April 29, 2014, President Obama delivered a draft of "Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America" or "GROW AMERICA"...more

"Rails to Trails" or "Rails to Trespass": Supreme Court Speaks on the Abandonment of Certain Railroad Rights of Way

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States (please, there is no such thing as the "United States Supreme Court") decided a very interesting case about easements. "Easements?", you ask. Yes, easements. We use them...more

California Passenger Rail Summit

Last week I attended the 2014 California Passenger Rail Summit where industry leaders met to discuss the modernization and integration of passenger rail service in California. While the California High Speed Rail train was an...more

California High Speed Rail Authority Gains New Approvals to Move Project Forward: Eminent Domain Proceedings Commenced on Eight...

Despite recent obstacles, the California High Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) remains steadfast in its determination to complete the high-speed rail project (the “Project”), bolstered by recent approvals from various...more

Supreme Court Ruling Represents Major Shift for Railroad Rights of Way

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Forest Service could not construct a trail on an abandoned railroad right of way (ROW) that crosses through private property. Brandt v. United States, No. 12-1173,...more

Legal Alert: Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States: Supreme Court Opens the Door to Potential Fifth Amendment Takings...

In what is commonly known as a rails-to-trails case, the U.S. Supreme Court held on March 10, 2014, in an eight-to-one decision, that certain railroad rights-of-way revert to private property owners following the railroad’s...more

Rails-to-Trails Decision: Supreme Court Holds that Government Does Not Retain Reversionary Interest

The "Rails-to-Trails" program sounds like such a great idea in theory: take old, abandoned railroad right of way and turn it into public trails. Who would complain about that? Well, it turns out lots of people might...more

Supreme Court Strikes Blow to "Rail-to-Trails" Program

In the latest in a string of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases that impact right of way issues, on Monday the Court issued its opinion in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States (Case No. 12-1173, March 10, 2014). ...more

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