Legislation Rail

Proposed DOT funding bill would increase rail, highway oversight

Washington – A proposed $302 billion surface transportation funding bill sent to Congress April 29 by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx would give federal transportation agencies increased enforcement authority over unsafe operators and carriers.

The Grow America Act would fund highway, rail and transit safety programs for four years and prevent the shutdown of federally funded projects when the Highway Trust Fund is depleted, which is expected to occur as early as August.

Among the bill’s proposed measures:

  • Grant federal rail and transit agencies emergency authority to prohibit unsafe conditions or practices, and increase civil and criminal penalties against transit carriers
  • Establish stricter safety and inspection standards for truck and bus operators
  • Strengthen authority to regulate hours-of-service requirements for rail employees to help prevent fatigue

The bill also would allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue penalties against auto manufacturers found to have concealed dangerous vehicle defects from regulators and the public.