Surface Transportation

News & Analysis as of

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

CTC Meeting Brings Good News for Transportation Projects Around the State

As reported in Caltrans District 11's press release, there is much good news coming out of California Transportation Commission's meeting last week. First, thanks to a new state budget that increased transportation funding...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

DOT Proposes to Fine Motor Carriers and Others Who Coerce Drivers to Violate Safety Rules

The Surface Transportation Act currently provides commercial drivers with recourse if they are retaliated against for refusing to violate federal motor carrier safety rules. Earlier this month, the Department of...more

TRB Hosts 5th Annual International Finance Conference

The Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) 5th annual International Conference on Financing Surface Transportation will be held from July 9-11, 2014 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, CA....more

Quick Strike: Federal Agency Moves to Shut Down Dangerous Transportation Companies

In a stepped-up effort to protect the traveling public, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) is seeing strong results from a project initiated in April 2013. ...more

Guidance for Managing NEPA-Related Risks and Other Risks in Project Delivery - National Cooperative Highway Research Program...

In This Issue: - AUTHOR'S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS - GUIDANCE FOR MANAGING LEGAL RISKS IN THE NEPA PROCESS ..Early Identification and Assessment of Legal Risks ..Methods for Managing Legal Risks ..Legal Risk...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

Want to Disrupt the News? Focus on Quality and Context

“Disruption” is a thrilling word at our company. Through daily conversations with our clients and the constant digestion of news, we see that traditional industries are being challenged and changed by new companies with...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - May 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96% - Los Angeles Times - May 23: Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96 percent the estimated amount of...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - May 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - New high-speed train route approved despite 'unavoidable' effects in Valley: The Fresno Bee - May 12: The California High-Speed Rail Authority approved a section of rail line from...more

Senate EPW Committee Unveils Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill

The bipartisan leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled a six-year surface transportation bill last night that would maintain current funding under MAP-21 legislation expiring in September,...more

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