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7/18/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB, rail-safety reauthorization bills sail through Senate committee


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On July 17, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2003 (S. 1389) and Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act (S.1402).
S. 1389 would re-authorize STB for five years, appropriating $20.5 million for fiscal year 2004, $21.2 million for FY2005, $23.8 million for FY2006, $22.5 million for FY2007 and $23.5 million for FY2008.
The bill includes "two important provisions, one streamlining the administrative processes for small shippers, and the other codifying an agreement with rail labor," said Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement.
Since May 21, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has been debating sister bill H.R. 2192.
S. 1402 would authorize appropriations for activities under federal railroad safety laws for fiscal years 2004 through 2008.
"[The safety act] legislation will expand the authority of railway police to operate on property owned by other railroads and also includes incentives for closing unnecessary highway-rail grade crossings," said Hamberger.
AAR plans to lobby Congress to enact the bills.


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