View Rule

View EO 12866 Meetings Printer-Friendly Version     Download RIN Data in XML

DOT/FRA RIN: 2130-AC46 Publication ID: Fall 2017 
Title: +Passenger Equipment Safety Standards Amendments 
Abstract: This rulemaking would update existing safety standards for passenger rail equipment. Specifically, the rulemaking would add a new tier of passenger equipment safety standards (Tier III) to facilitate the safe implementation of nation-wide, interoperable, high-speed passenger rail service at speeds up to 220 mph. The Tier III standards require operations at speeds above 125 mph to be in an exclusive right-of-way without grade crossings. This rule would also establish crashworthiness and occupant protection performance requirements as an alternative to those currently specified for Tier I passenger trainsets. Additionally, the rule would increase from 150 mph to 160 mph the maximum speed for passenger equipment that complies with FRA's Tier II standards. The rule is expected to ease regulatory burdens, allow the development of advanced technology, and increase safety benefits. 
Agency: Department of Transportation(DOT)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 49 CFR 238   
Legal Authority: 49 USC 20103   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

This rulemaking would update existing safety standards for passenger rail equipment. Specifically, the rulemaking would add a new tier of passenger equipment safety standards (Tier III) to facilitate the safe implementation of nation-wide, interoperable, high-speed passenger rail service at speeds up to 220 mph. The Tier III standards require operations at speeds above 125 mph to be in an exclusive right-of-way without grade crossings. This rule would also establish crashworthiness and occupant protection performance requirements as an alternative to those currently specified for Tier I passenger trainsets. Additionally, the rule would increase from 150 mph to 160 mph the maximum speed for passenger equipment that complies with FRA's Tier II standards. The rule is expected to ease regulatory burdens, allow the development of advanced technology, and increase safety benefits.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

49 U.S.C. 20103, 20107, 20133, 20141, 20302 and 20303, 20306, 20701 and 20702, 21301 and 21302, 21304; 28 U.S.C. 2461, note; and 49 CFR 1.89.

Alternatives:

The alternatives FRA considered in establishing the proposed safety requirements for Tier III trainsets are the European and Japanese industry standards. However, as neither of those standards adequately address the safety concerns presented in the US rail environment, FRA rejected adopting either of them as a regulatory alternative suitable for interoperable equipment. FRA also considered the alternative of standalone HSR systems operating on an exclusive right-of-way (not physically connected to the general railroad system), utilizing passenger equipment that complies with European or other international standards but not necessarily with FRA's proposed requirements. FRA rejected this alternative because a major tenet of this rule is to safely facilitate the implementation of nationwide, interoperable HSR service.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

This rule would amend passenger equipment safety regulations. It adds a new equipment tier ("Tier III") to facilitate the safe implementation of high-speed rail (up to 220 mph on dedicated rail lines) and establishes alternative crashworthiness performance standards to qualify passenger rail equipment for Tier I operations. This rule is deregulatory in nature. At the proposed rule stage, FRA estimated the total cost of the proposed rule to be between $4.59 and $4.62 billion, discounted to between $3.13 and $3.16 billion at a 3 percent discount rate, and between $1.94 and $1.96 billion at a 7 percent discount rate. The annualized costs were estimated to be $64.6-65.1 million at a 7 percent discount rate and $101.9-102.6 million at a 3 percent discount rate. FRA estimated the total benefits to be between $8.66 and $16.75 billion, discounted to between $6.05 and $11.27 billion at a 3 percent discount rate, and between $3.85 and $7.06 billion at a 7 percent discount rate. The annualized benefits were estimated to be $121.8-235.8 million at a 7 percent discount rate and $192-371.7 million at a 3 percent discount rate. The benefits are derived by calculating the difference between the estimated equipment and infrastructure costs without the rule and the estimated costs of pursuing the same projects with the new rule in effect. The majority of the benefits are due to a rule modification that provides Tier III trainsets the ability to operate on shared track rather than build new, independent infrastructure into urban areas. FRA is currently evaluating the core assumptions that lead to such large benefits to ensure their accuracy.

Risks:

The risk is regulatory uncertainty for potential Tier III and Tier I alternative operations. Tier III operations could still be conducted, but would require a series of waivers, which are not as permanent as regulatory approval (and not as certain). Also, Tier I alternative trainsets would still require waivers for operation (same regulatory uncertainty as for Tier III).

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  12/06/2016  81 FR 88006   
NPRM Comment Period End  02/06/2017 
Final Rule  06/00/2018 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: www.regulations.gov   Public Comment URL: www.regulations.gov  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Elliott Gillooly
Department of Transportation
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.,
Washington, DC 20590
Phone:202 366-4000
Email: elliott.gillooly@dot.gov