Several railroad grade crossings will get flashing lights and gates as a result of nearly $10 million from the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program.

FRA Delays System Safety Rule Another Year

The rule would require commuter and intercity passenger railroads to implement a system safety program. FRA's Nov. 30 notice says rail labor organizations filed a single joint petition seeking a delay, and state and local transportation departments and authorities filed three other petitions.

The Federal Railroad Administration has delayed for another year the effective date of a 2016 final rule it issued that would require commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program. FRA on Feb. 10, 2017, stayed the rule's requirements until March 21, 2017, and then extended the stay until May 22, 2017, June 5, 2017, and then Dec. 4, 2017. Now, in a Nov. 30 Federal Register notice, FRA has extended the stay until Dec. 4, 2018.

The agency says petitions for reconsideration of this added delay must be received on or before Jan. 19, 2018, and comments in response to petitions for reconsideration must be received by March 5, 2018. Petitions for reconsideration and comments may be submitted via www.regulations.gov, at Docket No. FRA-2011-0060.

The notice says rail labor organizations filed a single joint petition seeking a delay, and state and local transportation departments and authorities filed three other petitions. It says on Oct. 30, 2017, FRA met with the Passenger Safety Working Group and the System Safety Task Group of its Railroad Safety Advisory Committee to discuss the petitions and comments received in response to them, with FRA state partners invited to the meeting, which was open to the public.

"Given the multiple requests for a continued stay of the rule, the comment received supporting a stay, the lack of opposition to a stay in either the comments or at the public RSAC meeting, and FRA's interest in addressing the issues raised in the State petitions prior to requiring full compliance with the SSP final rule, FRA is issuing this final rule extending the stay until December 4, 2018," the document says.

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