Surface Transportation

News & Analysis as of

Eminent Domain Begins for County of Sacramento Road Projects

As traffic continues to increase and roadways become more congested, California’s transportation infrastructure needs to keep up. While there has been a concerted focus on alternative methods of transportation (such as rail,...more

Transportation Projects Get A Lot Of Deference in Demonstrating Compliance With Air Quality Standards

In a decision late last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how much deference agencies can get under the Supreme Court decisions in Chevron and Auer. The question in NRDC v. USDOT was whether, in...more

Mexico Issues Reporting Regulations for Broad Range of Greenhouse Gases

Last week, beneath the fanfare surrounding issuance of internal regulations for Mexico’s new oil and gas agency[1] and a suite of conforming amendments to more than half a dozen environmental regulations, the Secretariat of...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

Environmental Groups Ramp-up the Crude-by-Rail Fight in the Courtroom

Bakken crude producers and midstream transportation companies already experience transportation woes related to inadequate pipeline infrastructure, railroad capacity, tank car supply, rail accidents, and new regulations. But...more

Flash No. 43 - A Favorable Decision Regarding the Massachusetts "ABC" Test

The saga surrounding the challenges to the Massachusetts “ABC” Test for independent contractors has taken a potentially positive turn for the transportation industry. A decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the...more

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Considers Privacy Implications for New Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced in 2014 that it would begin steps toward implementing vehicle-to-vehicle (“V2V”) technology with an aim toward decreasing...more

Another Hefty OSHA Whistleblower Award + Reinstatement

On September 26, 2014, OSHA issued a preliminary order that an Illinois employer, Stericycle Inc. (the Company), reinstate and pay $262,000 to a supervisor who was discharged after allegedly reporting safety concerns to...more

Viewpoint: Analysis of New Framework for Transportation Impact Under CEQA

Viewpoint: Analysis of New Framework for Transportation Impact Under CEQA - On August 6, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a preliminary discussion draft of amendments to the California...more

California Governor Signs Bill Regulating Oil by Rail

On September 25, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that will provide California’s emergency responders with more information about trains carrying crude oil and require railroad companies to provide...more

Growing Trend: Private Investment in Infrastructure and Transportation

As P3 Bulletin, the New York Times and Richard Cavallaro, the new CEO of international construction company Skanska’s US operations, have recently stated, the increase in private investment and Public Private Partnerships...more

FERC Issues Declaratory Orders in Shell and Pivotal Proceedings Related to LNG Production Facilities

On September 4, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued declaratory orders in response to two petitions, each seeking a jurisdictional determination under the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”)...more

From the Transportation Archives: The Perfect Storm: The Parameters of a Successful “Act Of God” Defense in Freight Claims

Federal and state law have long established that a shipper cannot prevail in a freight claim against a carrier if an “Act of God” caused the freight damage, loss, or delay in question. This “Act of God” defense is available...more

If it doesn’t matter, pay up! The High Court keeps a broad interpretation of Section 54

Maxwell v Highway Hauliers Pty Ltd [2014] HCA 33 - The High Court today handed down a decision concerning Section 54 (1) of the Insurance Contracts Act. The decision is important for many insurers, particularly those...more

Federal Highway Administration Publishes New Rule for Value Engineering

On Friday, September 5, 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) published its final rule for Value Engineering (“VE”) for road and bridge projects. The new rule implements changes made to VE requirements under...more

Draft CEQA Guidelines Would Dramatically Alter Analysis of Transportation Impacts Under SB 743

On August 6, 2014, the California Office of Planning and Research issued a new draft guideline that could fundamentally alter the way in which transportation impacts are analyzed for purposes of review under the California...more

CEQA Alert: The End of Level of Service (“LOS”) Analysis? OPR Proposes New Guidelines for Evaluating Transportation Impacts

On August 6, 2014, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released its preliminary recommendations for changing how transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA: Updating Transportation Impacts Analysis in the...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

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program...more

Federal Surface Transportation Reauthorization: A Temporary Detour

Facing the imminent bankruptcy of the federal Highway Trust Fund (the “HTF”) and the specter of delays and reductions in payments from the HTF to the States, the US Congress last week passed the Highway and Transportation...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

New EU sanctions in relation to Ukraine

On July 18, 2014, the European Council adopted Regulation (EU) No 783/20141 which expanded the scope of individuals, entities and bodies who could be added to the list of sanctions targets. Those materially or financially...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

The Ninth Circuit Puts Up Road Block to Motor Carrier Arguing that California Break Laws are Preempted by the FAAA Act, But Leaves...

On Wednesday, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a decision that, on its face, involved a technical preemption issue, but one that will have serious repercussions for those in the transportation...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - Second leg of California bullet-train line approved: SFGate.com - Jun 27: On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval for work to begin on the second leg...more

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