Summary: H.R.2607 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (08/12/1992)

Rail Safety Enforcement and Review Act - Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 to require the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to issue regulations for the safety of maintenance-of-way employees on railroad bridges (currently, maintenance-of-way employees generally). Requires the Secretary to provide for the use of boats when work is performed on bridges located over bodies of water.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations to require that any railroad notified that assessment of a civil penalty will be recommended for failure to comply with the Federal railroad safety laws and regulations report to the Secretary within 30 days after the end of the month in which such notification is received on action taken to remedy such failure (or an explanation for any delay in remedial action).

Amends specified Federal laws to increase the minimum and maximum civil penalties against any railroad, including its employees, that violates a railroad safety regulation.

Directs the Secretary to establish a pilot program to demonstrate the benefits that may accrue to the Federal railroad safety program from assigning an attorney employed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to regional offices of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to perform initial case review, assess penalties, settle cases, and provide legal advice to FRA regional personnel on enforcement as compared to performing such functions at the headquarters level. Requires a report to the Congress on the results of such pilot program.

Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 and other Federal railroad law to require the Secretary to take into account the nature and gravity of violations committed under this Act, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior or subsequent offenses, ability to pay, and effect on ability to continue to do business whenever the Secretary considers compromising an assessed civil penalty for such violations.

Requires actions to review final agency actions with respect to railroad safety to be brought in a United States court of appeals.

Amends Federal law to provide criminal penalties for the murder or attempted murder or manslaugther of any FRA employee assigned to perform investigative, inspection, or law enforcement functions.

Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 to direct the Secretary to review DOT rules on railroad power brakes and standards on track safety, and to revise them on the basis of safety data presented during the reviews. Requires the Secretary to promulgate rules requiring two-way end of train devices (or devices able to perform the same function) on road trains other than locals, road switchers, or work trains to enable the initiation of emergency braking from the rear of the train. Requires the General Accounting Office to study the effectiveness of the Secretary's enforcement of such track safety standards.

Applies certain civil penalties to the following persons for violations of such rules and regulations and other Federal railroad safety laws: (1) any owner, manufacturer, lessor, or lessee of railroad equipment, track, or facilities (including their employees); or (2) any contractor (including employees) providing goods or services to a railroad. Requires the Secretary to consider prescribing regulations to improve the safety and working conditions of locomotive cabs.

Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on an assessment of the safety of DOT's railroad radio communications standards and procedures.

Authorizes appropriations for railroad safety activities.

Requires the Secretary to include in each safety assessment report conducted, between the date of enactment of this Act and the end of FY 1993, an evaluation of the use and effectiveness of total quality management techniques.

Amends the Department of Transportation Act to increase and extend the authorization of appropriations for local rail freight assistance programs.

Directs the Secretary, in establishing or modifying a monetary damage threshold for the reporting of railroad accidents, to base damage cost calculations only on publicly available data from: (1) the Bureau of Labor Statistics; or (2) other Federal agencies if such date meet certain data collection standards or which have subjected such data to a public notice and comment process.

Directs the Secretary to report to specified congressional committees on issues presented by the transportation by rail of hazardous materials.

Requires the Secretary to transmit to specified congressional committees a report concerning any action taken by the Secretary and railroad industry to rectify problems associated with unsatisfactory work place environments in certain train dispatching offices identified in the National Train Dispatcher Safety Assessment for 1987-1988, published by the Federal Railroad Administration in July 1990.

Amends the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 1988 to require the Northeast Corridor Safety Committee to meet at least onece every two years to consider safety matters on the main line of the Northeast Corridor.

Amends Federal bankruptcy law to cite circumstances under which a bankruptcy trustee must surrender to an airport operator the use and possession of airport facilities as they pertain to a debtor air carrier's unexpired lease with respect to such use. Prohibits the trustee from assigning such leases if a termination event has occurred.