Transportation Rail Federal agencies

Postponed again: federal requirement for passenger railroad safety programs

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Washington — A Federal Railroad Administration final rule requiring commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program has been delayed again.

In a notice published in the Dec. 7 Federal Register, FRA states that it is extending the previous stay of final rule requirements of 49 CFR part 270 to Sept. 4, citing the need to review and consider proposed revisions of the draft rule text provided March 16 by the executive committee of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition and uploaded by FRA to the rulemaking document.

The nine-month delay, according to the agency, will reduce regulatory burden on the industry and provide individual railroads an implementation cost savings of more than $255,000.

FRA notes that the final rule will apply to 30 commuter or other short-haul passenger railroads and two intercity passenger railroads – Amtrak and the Alaska Railroad Corp.

The rule originally was published Aug. 12, 2016. FRA stayed the final rule requirements four times in 2017, then for a full year, until Dec. 4.

FRA defines an SSP as a “structured program with proactive processes and procedures, developed and implemented … to identify and mitigate or eliminate hazards and the resulting risks on each railroad’s system.”

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