[House Report 115-594]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


115th Congress }                                          { REPORT
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session   }                                          { 115-594

======================================================================
 
TO REQUIRE THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION AND THE FEDERAL TRANSIT 
AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL NOTICE OF SAFETY AUDITS 
     CONDUCTED WITH RESPECT TO RAILROADS AND RAIL TRANSIT AGENCIES

                                _______
                                

 March 13, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Shuster, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1093]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1093) to require the Federal 
Railroad Administration and the Federal Transit Authority to 
provide appropriate Congressional notice of safety audits 
conducted with respect to railroads and rail transit agencies, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with 
amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of Legislation...........................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Legislative History and Consideration............................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     5
Advisory of Earmarks.............................................     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Mandate Statement........................................     6
Preemption Clarification.........................................     6
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Applicability of Legislative Branch..............................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis of Legislation.......................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7
    The amendments areas follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. NOTICE OF COMPREHENSIVE SAFETY ASSESSMENTS.

  (a) Initial Notice.--Not later than 10 business days after the 
Federal Railroad Administration initiates a comprehensive safety 
assessment of an entity providing regularly scheduled intercity or 
commuter rail passenger transportation, the Federal Railroad 
Administration shall notify in electronic format the Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, 
and each member of Congress representing a State in which the service 
that is the subject of the assessment being conducted is located, of 
the initiation of that assessment.
  (b) Findings.--Not later than 90 days after completion of a 
comprehensive safety assessment described in subsection (a), the 
Federal Railroad Administration shall transmit in electronic format to 
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate, and to each member of Congress 
representing a State in which the service that is the subject of the 
assessment being conducted is located, its findings of that assessment, 
including identified defects and any recommendations.
  (c) Definition.--For purpose of this section, the term 
``comprehensive safety assessment'' means a focused review of the 
safety-related processes and procedures, compliance with safety 
regulations and requirements, and overall safety culture of an entity 
providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger 
transportation.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to require the Federal Railroad Administration to 
provide appropriate congressional notice of comprehensive 
safety assessments conducted with respect to intercity or 
commuter rail passenger transportation.

                         PURPOSE OF LEGISLATION

    H.R. 1093, as amended, requires the Federal Railroad 
Administration (FRA) to provide appropriate Congressional 
notification of the initiation and results of comprehensive 
safety assessments of an entity providing intercity or commuter 
rail passenger transportation.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    On September 29, 2016, a New Jersey Transit (NJT) train 
entering the Hoboken, New Jersey station failed to stop, 
overrode a bumping post, and struck a wall of the terminal. One 
individual on the platform was killed and 110 passengers and 
crewmembers on the train were injured. The National 
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation of 
the accident.
    At the time of the accident, FRA was conducting a 
comprehensive safety assessment of NJT, based on an increase in 
safety violations and the carrier's overall safety performance. 
Neither Congress nor the public was aware of NJT's safety 
problems or the FRA's audit.
    The NTSB's Special Investigations Report of the Hoboken 
accident was released on February 6, 2018. The Board determined 
that the probable cause of the accident was fatigue resulting 
from undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea. The NTSB also 
found that NJT's System Safety Plan (SSP) was ineffective in 
identifying operational hazards associated with operating 
trains into terminal tracks. For example, NJT failed to include 
in its SSP the potential for a bumping post collision, even 
though NJT had seven reported accidents in which a train hit a 
bumping post during the 10-year period between January 1, 2001, 
and December 31, 2016. According to the FRA, ``An SSP would 
provide a railroad with the tools to systematically and 
continuously evaluate its system to identify the hazards and 
risks that result from gaps in safety and to mitigate or 
eliminate these hazards and risks.''
    The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-432) 
directed the Secretary of Transportation to issue a regulation 
requiring certain railroads to develop, submit for review and 
approval, and implement a railroad safety risk reduction 
program within four years of the date of enactment. The FRA has 
not issued the final rule. Additionally, the findings of the 
FRA audit of NJT were never provided to Congress.
    H.R. 1093 will ensure that FRA informs the House and Senate 
Committees of jurisdiction, as well as affected Members of 
Congress, of both the initiation of comprehensive safety 
assessments and their results. According to FRA, these in-depth 
safety reviews are undertaken after FRA has identified serious 
safety lapses, including incidents of non-compliance with 
federal safety regulations. This legislation will make FRA's 
process more transparent, help the House Transportation and 
Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation Committee fulfill their responsibility for 
overseeing rail safety, and allow affected Members of Congress 
and their constituents to be informed about the state of rail 
safety in their communities. The notice requirements will also 
let Congress know that systemic safety problems are being 
addressed by FRA, and inform Congress of FRA's findings and 
recommendations.

                                HEARINGS

    There were no hearings related to this legislation in the 
House.

                 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND CONSIDERATION

    On February 15, 2017, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) 
introduced 1093, to require notification to the House 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Senate 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and affected 
Members of Congress of the initiation and results of certain 
safety assessments with respect to railroads and rail transit 
agencies. The bill was referred solely to the Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure.
    On March 29, 2017, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure met in open session to consider H.R. 1093. The 
Committee considered and adopted one amendment in the nature of 
a substitute, offered by Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, 
and Hazardous Materials Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA), 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA), and 
Congressman Sires, by voice vote. The Committee ordered the 
bill, as amended, reported favorably to the House by voice vote 
with a quorum present.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each committee report to include the 
total number of votes cast for and against on each record vote 
on a motion to report and on any amendment offered to the 
measure or matter, and the names of those members voting for 
and against. There were no recorded votes taken in connection 
with consideration of H.R. 1093, as amended, or ordering the 
measure reported. A motion to order H.R. 1093, as amended, 
reported favorably to the House was agreed to by voice vote 
with a quorum present.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

               NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974, included below.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1093, as amended, 
from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office. CBO finds 
that the bill will have no direct spending or revenue effects.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 18, 2017.
Hon. Bill Shuster,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1093, a bill to 
require the Federal Railroad Administration to provide 
appropriate Congressional notice of comprehensive safety 
assessments conducted with respect to intercity or commuter 
rail passenger transportation.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sarah Puro.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1093--A bill to require the Federal Railroad Administration to 
        provide appropriate Congressional notice of comprehensive 
        safety assessments conducted with respect to intercity or 
        commuter rail passenger transportation

    H.R. 1093 would require the Federal Rail Administration 
(FRA) to notify the Congress upon initiating certain safety 
assessments and to complete and transmit formal reports to the 
Congress within 90 days of completing an assessment.
    When the FRA conducts a safety assessment of a rail 
provider the agency does not typically produce a formal report 
of its findings. Instead, the FRA provides informal 
communications to the railroad that it has assessed. As a 
result, the agency would need additional personnel to complete 
the reporting requirements contained in the bill. According to 
the agency, it completes two or three safety assessments each 
year. Based on an analysis of information from the FRA, CBO 
expects that a formal report to the Congress on each assessment 
would require the equivalent of one or two full-time employees 
per year. Thus, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would 
cost $2 million over the 2018-2022 period, assuming the 
availability of appropriated amounts.
    Enacting H.R. 1093 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 1093 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Sarah Puro. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
performance goal and objective of this legislation, as amended, 
is to require the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to 
notify specific committees and Members of Congress upon 
initiating and concluding a safety assessment.

                          ADVISORY OF EARMARKS

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee is required to include a list 
of congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of 
rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives. No 
provision in the bill, as amended, includes an earmark, limited 
tax benefit, or limited tariff benefit under clause 9(e), 9(f), 
or 9(g) of rule XXI.

                    DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 1093, as amended, establishes or reauthorizes a program 
of the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                  DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTED RULE MAKINGS

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 115th Cong. (2017), 
the Committee finds that enacting H.R. 1093, as amended, does 
not direct the completion of a specific rule making within the 
meaning of section 551 of title 5, United States Code.

                       FEDERAL MANDATE STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee states that H.R. 1093, as amended, 
does not preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act are created by this 
legislation.

                  APPLICABILITY OF LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation, as amended, does 
not relate to the terms and conditions of employment or access 
to public services or accommodations within the meaning of 
section 102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act 
(Public Law 104-1).

               SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF LEGISLATION

Section 1. Notice of comprehensive safety assessments

    Section 1 directs FRA to provide notification of the 
initiation of a comprehensive safety assessment of an entity 
providing intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation 
to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 
House, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
in the Senate, and each member of Congress representing a State 
in which the service that is the subject of the assessment is 
located, within ten business days after the assessment is 
initiated. This section also directs FRA to transmit its 
findings, including identified defects and any recommendations, 
to these parties in electronic format within 90 days after the 
safety assessment is completed. The section also defines 
``comprehensive safety assessment'' as a focused review of the 
safety-related processes and procedures, compliance with safety 
regulations and requirements, and overall safety culture of the 
railroad.
    It is the Committee's understanding from FRA that 
comprehensive safety assessments are those undertaken under the 
direction of headquarters' staff on the basis of inspections in 
the field that have found serious safety problems and a pattern 
of non-compliance with federal safety regulations. According to 
FRA, these types of inspections differ from routine safety 
inspections and are more comprehensive. This legislation is not 
intended to require FRA to report routine safety inspections to 
Congress, but rather comprehensive safety assessments that are 
focused on an entity's compliance with safety regulations and 
requirements, safety-related processes and procedures, and its 
overall safety culture.
    FRA currently provides notifications to Congress of train 
collisions, derailments, and grade crossing accidents on a 
regular basis. These communications are in the form of email 
messages to staff, and we would expect FRA to meet the 
electronic communication requirements of the bill in the same 
manner. Additionally, the legislation does not require FRA to 
submit a new report to Congress to inform us of the results of 
a safety assessment. Rather, the agency need only share with 
Congress the information it develops when it conducts this kind 
of safety review.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 1093 makes no changes in existing law.

                                  [all]