Summary: S.2730 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/22/1980)

(Measure passed House, amended, in lieu of H.R. 7104)

Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1980 - Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1981 and an increased authorization for fiscal year 1982. Allocates such appropriations to specified services and activities.

Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to impose such restrictions or prohibitions as may be necessary to abate an emergency situation involving a hazard of death or injury. Directs that such an order cease to be effective after 30 days unless extended in writing by the Secretary. Directs the Secretary to describe the conditions that create an emergency situation and to establish standards and procedures under which relief from such order may be obtained. Authorizes any employee who may be exposed to imminent injury by such hazard to bring an action to compel the Secretary to issue such an order if the Secretary unreasonably fails to seek such relief. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into agreements with any State to provide investigative and surveillance activities as regards railroad safety appliances and hours of service of employees.

Authorizes the appropriate State agency to apply to a U.S. district court: (1) for assessment and collection of a civil penalty for the violation of any railroad safety rule or order; and (2) within 15 days after the date on which the Secretary received notification of a violation, for injunctive relief. Prohibits a State from bringing an action under this Act in a district court located outside the boundaries of the State.

Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to issue orders directing compliance with the statutes and regulations regarding railroad safety transferred to the Secretary's responsibility under the Department of Transportation Act.

Grants jurisdiction, upon petition by the Attorney General, to the district courts to enforce any order issued by the Secretary pursuant to such Act or to this Act.

Prescribes criminal penalties for specified violations of such Act. Extends venue in such cases to include the judicial district in which the defendant has its principal executive office.

Amends the Act to prohibit any railroad from discharging or discriminating against any railroad employee because such employee: (1) becomes involved in any enforcement action against such railroad; or (2) refuses to work when confronted by a hazardous condition related to the performance of the employee's duties. Exempts security personnel employed by a railroad from the above provisions.

Authorizes the National Railroad Adjustment Board to award backpay to aggrieved employees and to order such employees reinstated.

Allows an aggrieved employee to seek relief either pursuant to this Act or pursuant to another provision of law but not both.

Establishes pay classifications for a railroad safety inspector and a railroad safety specialist.

Amends the Hours of Service Act of 1907 to extend: (1) venue in specified cases to include the judicial district in which the defendant has its principal executive office; and (2) the statute of limitations if administrative notice is given pursuant to the Federal Claims Collection Act within two years from the date of the violation.

Amends the Locomotive Inspection Act of 1911 to direct each carrier to keep on file the report of all required locomotive inspections and the report showing the repair of the defects disclosed by such an inspection.

Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 to direct the Secretary, within two years of the date of enactment of this Act, to issue rules, regulations, orders, and standards as may be necessary to insure the safe construction, maintenance, and operation of railroad passenger equipment. Authorizes the Secretary to consult with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), public authorities that operate passenger service, other rail carriers that transport passengers, passenger organizations, and employee organizations before issuing such rules, regulations, orders, and standards.

Amends the Alaska Railroad Act to authorize Alaska railroad security personnel to carry firearms and make arrests.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a study regarding employee training in the railroad industry as it affects railroad safety.

Directs the Secretary to expedite promulgation of a final rule regarding the retrofitting of Department of Transportation specification 105 tank cars with shelf couplers.

Directs the Secretary to submit to Congress: (1) a status report as regards such final rule; and (2) a systems safety plan relating to the activities of the Department in carrying out rail safety laws.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to develop a methodology to determine safety inspection schedules, with priority granted to track and equipment involved with passenger trains and hazardous cargos.