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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has proposed a change in the freight-rail safety provision of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) by amending the Freight Car Safety Standards (FCSS).
This proposed amendment, on which FRA is seeking public comment, aims to further enhance the safety and security of the U.S. freight-rail industry by introducing crucial restrictions on newly built freight cars placed into service within the United States, FRA officials said in a news release.
Comments are due Feb. 6, 2024.
The infrastructure law requires specific measures to ensure the integrity and security of freight cars operating within the United States. These measures limit the use of sensitive technology or components that originate from a country of concern (COC) or are sourced from a state-owned enterprise (SOE).
The IIJA of 2021 included a provision designed to strengthen the nation's rail equipment infrastructure and safeguard it against potential vulnerabilities. The law provides safety and security standards aimed at preventing the exploitation of freight cars for illicit purposes and the potential compromise of sensitive technologies within the industry, the release said.
The newly proposed regulations would require manufacturers to document the source of materials used in newly built freight cars and establish auditable procurement processes that avoid using materials originating from COCs or SOEs. The proposal would also implement stringent controls to prevent the use of sensitive technology that could compromise national security.