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Systems for Telephonic Notification of Unsafe Conditions at Highway-Rail and Pathway Grade Crossings

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American Government

Systems for Telephonic Notification of Unsafe Conditions at Highway-Rail and Pathway Grade Crossings

Robert Lauby
Federal Register
September 8, 2011


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 174 (Thursday, September 8, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 55622-55623]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-23008]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

49 CFR Chapter II

[Docket No. FRA-2009-0041, Notice No. 2]
RIN 2130-AC12


Systems for Telephonic Notification of Unsafe Conditions at 
Highway-Rail and Pathway Grade Crossings

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of public hearing.

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SUMMARY: On March 4, 2011, FRA published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking that would require certain railroads to develop a system for 
telephonic notification of unsafe conditions at highway-rail and 
pathway grade crossings. FRA is announcing a public hearing to provide 
interested persons an opportunity to provide comments on the proposal 
and to discuss further development of the regulation. The Rail Safety 
Improvement Act of 2008 requires the development and implementation of 
these telephonic notification systems.

DATES: A public hearing will be held on September 29, 2011, in 
Washington, DC and will commence at 9 a.m.

ADDRESSES: Public Hearing. The public hearing will be held at the 
Courtyard Washington Capitol Hill/Navy Yard, Admiral Room I & II, 
located at 140 L Street, SE., Washington, DC 20003.
    Attendance: Any persons wishing to make a statement at the hearing 
should notify FRA's Docket Clerk, Michelle Silva, by telephone, e-mail, 
or in writing, at least five business days before the date of the 
hearing. Ms. Silva's contact information is as follows: FRA, Office of 
Chief Counsel, Mail Stop 10, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, 
DC 20590; telephone: 202-493-6030; e-mail: michelle.silva@dot.gov. For 
information on facilities or services for persons with disabilities or 
to request special assistance at the meeting, please contact by 
telephone or e-mail as soon as possible, Larry Woolverton at 202-493-
6212 or larry.woolverton@dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Crawford, Transportation 
Specialist, Grade Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention, Office of 
Safety Analysis, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Mail Stop 25, 
Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: 202-493-6288), beth.crawford@dot.gov; 
or Matthew Navarrete, Trial Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, FRA, 
1200 New Jersey

[[Page 55623]]

Avenue, SE., Mail Stop 10, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: 202-493-
0138), matthew.navarrete@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the hearing is to receive 
oral comments in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) 
proposing regulations that would require certain railroads to implement 
systems for telephonic notification of unsafe conditions at highway-
rail and pathway grade crossings. See 76 FR 11992-12012 (March 4, 
2011). Interested parties are invited to present oral statements and to 
proffer information and views at the hearing. The hearing will be 
informal and will be conducted by a representative designated by FRA in 
accordance with FRA's Rules of Practice (49 CFR 211.25). The hearing 
will be a non-adversarial proceeding; therefore, there will be no cross 
examination of persons presenting statements or proffering evidence. An 
FRA representative will make an opening statement outlining the scope 
of the hearing. After all initial statements have been completed; those 
persons wishing to make a brief rebuttal will be given the opportunity 
to do so in the same order in which the initial statements were made. 
Additional procedures, as necessary for the conduct of the hearing, 
will be announced at the hearing. A transcript of the discussions will 
be made part of the public docket in this proceeding.
    Public Participation Procedures. Any person wishing to participate 
in the public hearing should notify the Docket Clerk by mail or at the 
address or fax number provided in the Attendance section of this notice 
at least five working days prior to the date of the hearing and submit 
three copies of the oral statement that he or she intends to make at 
the proceeding. The notification should identify the party the person 
represents, the particular subject(s) the person plans to address, and 
the time requested. The notification should also provide the Docket 
Clerk with the participant's mailing address and other contact 
information. FRA reserves the right to limit participation in the 
hearing of persons who fail to provide such notification. FRA reserves 
the right to limit the duration of presentations if necessary to afford 
all persons with the opportunity to speak.

Background

    In section 205 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Public 
Law 110-432, 122 Stat. 4872 (Oct. 16, 2008) (codified at 49 U.S.C. 
20152) (hereinafter RSIA), Congress directed the Secretary of 
Transportation (Secretary) to issue a regulation, requiring railroads 
to establish a telephonic notification system for the public to report 
unsafe conditions at highway-rail and pathway grade crossings. While 
the statute vests certain responsibilities with the Secretary, those 
responsibilities have been delegated to the FRA Administrator. See 49 
CFR 1.49(oo); 74 FR 26981 (June 5, 2009); see also 49 U.S.C. 103(g).
    In an NPRM issued on March 4, 2011, FRA proposed various amendments 
to its regulations on grade crossing safety. The primary amendments 
proposed would require a railroad that dispatches a train through a 
public or private highway-rail or pathway grade crossing to establish 
and maintain a system that allows a member of the public to call the 
railroad and report an emergency or other unsafe condition at the 
crossing. Upon receiving such a report, the railroad may be required to 
warn all trains authorized to operate through the crossing of the 
reported unsafe condition, inform local law enforcement of the reported 
unsafe condition, and must either investigate the report itself or 
request that the railroad with maintenance responsibility for the 
crossing investigate the report. If the report is substantiated, the 
railroad with maintenance responsibility for the crossing would be 
required to take certain actions to remedy the condition found. The 
purpose of the hearing is to receive oral comments in response to the 
requirements related to a telephonic notification system as proposed in 
the NPRM.
    FRA encourages all interested persons to participate in the 
hearing, at the addresse noted above. We encourage participants wishing 
to make oral statements to plan on attending the entire hearing, since 
FRA may not be able to accommodate competing requests to appear at 
specific times.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 2, 2011.
Robert Lauby,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Regulatory and Legislative 
Operations, Federal Railroad Administration.
[FR Doc. 2011-23008 Filed 9-7-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P



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