DG Digest: FRA Grants, PHMSA Reverse Logistics, & D.O.T. Seeks Public’s Help

The FRA kicked off April by announcing continued grant program funding availability to help the nation’s railroad’s meet the so-called “PTC Mandate” imposing new control requirements on trains, like this BNSF freight rolling along Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington on April 2nd, 2016. Photo © 4/2016 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved

The FRA kicked off April by announcing continued grant program funding availability to help the nation’s railroad’s meet the so-called “PTC Mandate” imposing new control requirements on trains, like this BNSF freight rolling along Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington on April 2nd, 2016. Photo © 4/2016 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved

As the weather begins to turn for the better in most places, the regulatory world stays busy. Here are the past week’s notables:

U.S. D.O.T.

Announced its latest five-year research and development plan and asked for public input to its development. The plan gets used as a guide to help decide things like funding priorities and areas where the government and private enterprise can cooperate to improve various aspects of the nation’s transport infrastructure.  Want to have your say?

FRA

The Federal Railroad Administration announced two different information collection requirements; one dealing with highway grade crossing safety, and the other with the prevalence of non-prescription medication use by railroad operating employees. Like all such requests, the intent is that the agency will use the data to help develop practical planning strategies for moving forward with any related regulatory activity.  Here are the two announcements

In more FRA news, the agency announced the availability of a further $25 million dollar (USD) grant program to help push along the much-publicized Positive Train Control or PTC mandate. The new (and extravagantly expensive) nationwide control system is intended to go far towards solving the problem of train collisions and unauthorized track movements, issues very much on the FRA’s agenda account a series of serious accidents on the nation’s rails involving both freight and passenger trains.  If you’d like to investigate an application, here’s your starting point

PHMSA

In what many may consider as being the “big” news of the past week, PHMSA published its final rule on “Reverse Logistics.” This term is used to describe the movement of products from a business back to its source of distribution, usually to, as PHMSA put it in the rule “capture value” (government-ese for getting a credit or refund).  The rule may have far –reaching effects for a segment of the shipping industry that up until this point has seen relatively little regulatory interest from PHMSA.  For more, please see my comprehensive blog post on the subject, published last week at this link

Lithium Battery Rule Changes Now In Effect!

Just a reminder—it’s now “post-April 1st” and the new rules regarding transport of Lithium Batteries by air are in place! Still need more info? You’re in luck!  We have extensive information here on how to cope with the changes here

Department of State

The U.S. State Department changed the date of its upcoming preparatory meeting for the IMO conference in the UK in May. State’s new meeting date and time are 9 AM on May 6th, in Washington, DC.  Need for more info?  Here’s more info


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