Public Law 110-432/Division A/Title II

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TITLE II--HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AND TRESPASSER PREVENTION[edit]

SEC. 201. PEDESTRIAN CROSSING SAFETY.[edit]

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall provide guidance to railroads on strategies and methods to prevent pedestrian accidents, incidents, injuries, and fatalities at or near passenger stations, including--

(1) providing audible warning of approaching trains to the pedestrians at railroad passenger stations;
(2) using signs, signals, or other visual devices to warn pedestrians of approaching trains;
(3) installing infrastructure at pedestrian crossings to improve the safety of pedestrians crossing railroad tracks;
(4) installing fences to prohibit access to railroad tracks; and
(5) other strategies or methods as determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 202. STATE ACTION PLANS.[edit]

(a) In General- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall identify the 10 States that have had the most highway-rail grade crossing collisions, on average, over the past 3 years and require those States to develop a State grade crossing action plan within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the Secretary. The plan shall identify specific solutions for improving safety at crossings, including highway-rail grade crossing closures or grade separations, and shall focus on crossings that have experienced multiple accidents or are at high risk for such accidents. The Secretary shall provide assistance to the States in developing and carrying out, as appropriate, the plan. The plan may be coordinated with other State or Federal planning requirements and shall cover a period of time determined to be appropriate by the Secretary. The Secretary may condition the awarding of any grants under section 20158, 20167, or 22501 of title 49, United States Code, to a State identified under this section on the development of such State's plan.
(b) Review and Approval- Not later than 60 days after the Secretary receives a plan under subsection (a), the Secretary shall review and approve or disapprove it. If the proposed plan is disapproved, the Secretary shall notify the affected State as to the specific areas in which the proposed plan is deficient, and the State shall correct all deficiencies within 30 days following receipt of written notice from the Secretary.

SEC. 203. IMPROVEMENTS TO SIGHT DISTANCE AT HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSINGS.[edit]

(a) In General- Subchapter II of chapter 201, as amended by section 105 of this division, is further amended by inserting after section 20158 the following:
`Sec. 20159. Roadway user sight distance at highway-rail grade crossings
`Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the Secretary, after consultation with the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and States, shall develop and make available to States model legislation providing for improving safety by addressing sight obstructions, including vegetation growth, topographic features, structures, and standing railroad equipment, at highway-rail grade crossings that are equipped solely with passive warnings, as recommended by the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation in Report No. MH-2007-044.'.
(b) Conforming Amendment- The chapter analysis for chapter 201, as amended by section 105 of this division, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 20158 the following new item:
`20159. Roadway user sight distance at highway-rail grade crossings.'.

SEC. 204. NATIONAL CROSSING INVENTORY.[edit]

(a) In General- Subchapter II of chapter 201, as amended by section 203 of this division, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:
`Sec. 20160. National crossing inventory
`(a) Initial Reporting of Information About Previously Unreported Crossings- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 or 6 months after a new crossing becomes operational, whichever occurs later, each railroad carrier shall--
`(1) report to the Secretary of Transportation current information, including information about warning devices and signage, as specified by the Secretary, concerning each previously unreported crossing through which it operates or with respect to the trackage over which it operates; or
`(2) ensure that the information has been reported to the Secretary by another railroad carrier that operates through the crossing.
`(b) Updating of Crossing Information-
`(1) On a periodic basis beginning not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and on or before September 30 of every year thereafter, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary, each railroad carrier shall--
`(A) report to the Secretary current information, including information about warning devices and signage, as specified by the Secretary, concerning each crossing through which it operates or with respect to the trackage over which it operates; or
`(B) ensure that the information has been reported to the Secretary by another railroad carrier that operates through the crossing.
`(2) A railroad carrier that sells a crossing or any part of a crossing on or after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 shall, not later than the date that is 18 months after the date of enactment of that Act or 3 months after the sale, whichever occurs later, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary, report to the Secretary current information, as specified by the Secretary, concerning the change in ownership of the crossing or part of the crossing.
`(c) Rulemaking Authority- The Secretary shall prescribe the regulations necessary to implement this section. The Secretary may enforce each provision of the Department of Transportation's statement of the national highway-rail crossing inventory policy, procedures, and instruction for States and railroads that is in effect on the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, until such provision is superseded by a regulation issued under this section.
`(d) Definitions- In this section:
`(1) CROSSING- The term `crossing' means a location within a State, other than a location where one or more railroad tracks cross one or more railroad tracks either at grade or grade-separated, where--
`(A) a public highway, road, or street, or a private roadway, including associated sidewalks and pathways, crosses one or more railroad tracks either at grade or grade-separated; or
`(B) a pathway explicitly authorized by a public authority or a railroad carrier that is dedicated for the use of nonvehicular traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and others, that is not associated with a public highway, road, or street, or a private roadway, crosses one or more railroad tracks either at grade or grade-separated.
`(2) STATE- The term `State' means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.'.
(b) Conforming Amendment- The chapter analysis for chapter 201, as amended by section 203 of this division, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 20159 the following:
`20160. National crossing inventory.'.
(c) Reporting and Updating- Section 130 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(l) National Crossing Inventory-
`(1) INITIAL REPORTING OF CROSSING INFORMATION- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 or within 6 months of a new crossing becoming operational, whichever occurs later, each State shall report to the Secretary of Transportation current information, including information about warning devices and signage, as specified by the Secretary, concerning each previously unreported public crossing located within its borders.
`(2) PERIODIC UPDATING OF CROSSING INFORMATION- On a periodic basis beginning not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and on or before September 30 of every year thereafter, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary, each State shall report to the Secretary current information, including information about warning devices and signage, as specified by the Secretary, concerning each public crossing located within its borders.
`(3) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY- The Secretary shall prescribe the regulations necessary to implement this subsection. The Secretary may enforce each provision of the Department of Transportation's statement of the national highway-rail crossing inventory policy, procedures, and instructions for States and railroads that is in effect on the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, until such provision is superseded by a regulation issued under this subsection.
`(4) DEFINITIONS- In this subsection--
`(A) `public crossing' means a location within a State, other than a location where one or more railroad tracks cross one or more railroad tracks either at grade or grade-separated, where--
`(i) a public highway, road, or street, including associated sidewalks and pathways, crosses one or more railroad tracks either at grade or grade-separated; or
`(ii) a publicly owned pathway explicitly authorized by a public authority or a railroad carrier and dedicated for the use of non-vehicular traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and others, that is not associated with a public highway, road, or street, or a private roadway, crosses one or more railroad tracks either at grade or grade-separated; and
`(B) `State' means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico.'.
(d) Civil Penalties-
(1) Section 21301(a)(1) is amended--
(A) by inserting `with section 20160 or' after `comply' in the first sentence; and
(B) by inserting `section 20160 of this title or' after `violating' in the second sentence.
(2) Section 21301(a)(2) is amended by inserting `The Secretary shall impose a civil penalty for a violation of section 20160 of this title.' after the first sentence.

SEC. 205. TELEPHONE NUMBER TO REPORT GRADE CROSSING PROBLEMS.[edit]

(a) In General- Section 20152 is amended to read as follows:
`Sec. 20152. Notification of grade crossing problems
`(a) In General- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the Secretary of Transportation shall require each railroad carrier to--
`(1) establish and maintain a toll-free telephone service for rights-of-way over which it dispatches trains, to directly receive calls reporting--
`(A) malfunctions of signals, crossing gates, and other devices to promote safety at the grade crossing of railroad tracks on those rights-of-way and public or private roads;
`(B) disabled vehicles blocking railroad tracks at such grade crossings;
`(C) obstructions to the view of a pedestrian or a vehicle operator for a reasonable distance in either direction of a train's approach; or
`(D) other safety information involving such grade crossings;
`(2) upon receiving a report pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) or (B), immediately contact trains operating near the grade crossing to warn them of the malfunction or disabled vehicle;
`(3) upon receiving a report pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) or (B), and after contacting trains pursuant to paragraph (2), contact, as necessary, appropriate public safety officials having jurisdiction over the grade crossing to provide them with the information necessary for them to direct traffic, assist in the removal of the disabled vehicle, or carry out other activities as appropriate;
`(4) upon receiving a report pursuant to paragraph (1)(C) or (D), timely investigate the report, remove the obstruction if possible, or correct the unsafe circumstance; and
`(5) ensure the placement at each grade crossing on rights-of-way that it owns of appropriately located signs, on which shall appear, at a minimum--
`(A) a toll-free telephone number to be used for placing calls described in paragraph (1) to the railroad carrier dispatching trains on that right-of-way;
`(B) an explanation of the purpose of that toll-free telephone number; and
`(C) the grade crossing number assigned for that crossing by the National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory established by the Department of Transportation.
`(b) Waiver- The Secretary may waive the requirement that the telephone service be toll-free for Class II and Class III rail carriers if the Secretary determines that toll-free service would be cost prohibitive or unnecessary.'.
(b) Conforming Amendment- The chapter analysis for chapter 201 is amended by striking the item relating to section 20152 and inserting the following:
`20152. Notification of grade crossing problems.'.

SEC. 206. OPERATION LIFESAVER.[edit]

(a) Grant- The Federal Railroad Administration shall make a grant or grants to Operation Lifesaver to carry out a public information and education program to help prevent and reduce pedestrian, motor vehicle, and other accidents, incidents, injuries, and fatalities, and to improve awareness along railroad rights-of-way and at highway-rail grade crossings. The program shall include, as appropriate, development, placement, and dissemination of Public Service Announcements in newspaper, radio, television, and other media. The program shall also include, as appropriate, school presentations, brochures and materials, support for public awareness campaigns, and related support for the activities of Operation Lifesaver's member organizations. As part of an educational program funded by grants awarded under this section, Operation Lifesaver shall provide information to the public on how to identify and report to the appropriate authorities unsafe or malfunctioning highway-rail grade crossings.
(b) Pilot Program- The Secretary may allow funds provided under subsection (a) also to be used by Operation Lifesaver to implement a pilot program, to be known as the Railroad Safety Public Awareness Program, that addresses the need for targeted and sustained community outreach on the subjects described in subsection (a). Such a pilot program shall be established in 1 or more States identified under section 202 of this division. In carrying out such a pilot program Operation Lifesaver shall work with the State, community leaders, school districts, and public and private partners to identify the communities at greatest risk, to develop appropriate measures to reduce such risks, and shall coordinate the pilot program with the State grade crossing action plan.
(c) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Federal Railroad Administration for carrying out this section--
(1) $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011; and
(2) $1,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

SEC. 207. FEDERAL GRANTS TO STATES FOR HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING SAFETY.[edit]

(a) IN GENERAL.—Part B of subtitle V is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
‘‘CHAPTER 225—FEDERAL GRANTS TO STATES FOR HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING SAFETY
‘‘§ 22501. Financial assistance to States for certain projects
‘‘The Secretary of Transportation shall make grants—
‘‘(1) to a maximum of 3 States per year for development or continuance of enhanced public education and awareness activities, in combination with targeted law enforcement, to significantly reduce violations of traffic laws at highway-rail grade crossings and to help prevent and reduce injuries and fatalities along railroad rights-of-way; and
‘‘(2) to provide for priority highway-rail grade crossing safety improvements, including the installation, repair, or improvement of—
‘‘(A) railroad crossing signals, gates, and related technologies, including median barriers and four quadrant gates;
‘‘(B) highway traffic signalization, including highway signals tied to railroad signal systems;
‘‘(C) highway lighting and crossing approach signage;
‘‘(D) roadway improvements, including railroad crossing panels and surfaces; and
‘‘(E) related work to mitigate dangerous conditions.
‘‘§ 22502. Distribution
‘‘The Secretary shall provide the grants to the State agency or agencies responsible for highway-rail grade crossing safety.
‘‘§ 22503. Standards for awarding grants
‘‘(a) SECTION 22501(1) GRANTS.—The Secretary shall provide grants under section 22501(1) based upon the merits of the proposed program of activities provided by the State and upon a determination of where the grants will provide the greatest safety benefits. The Secretary may give priority to States that have developed and implemented a State grade crossing action plan, as described under section 202 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
‘‘(b) SECTION 22501(2) GRANTS.—The Secretary shall provide grants to State and local governments under section 22501(2) to provide priority grade crossing safety improvements on an expedited basis at a location where there has been a highway-rail grade crossing collision within the previous two years involving major loss of life or multiple serious bodily injuries.
‘‘§ 22504. Use of funds
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—Any State receiving a grant under section 22501(1) shall use the funds to develop, implement, and continue to measure the effectiveness of a dedicated program of public education and enforcement of highway-rail crossing safety laws and to prevent casualties along railroad rights-of-way. The Secretary may not make a grant under this chapter available to assist a State or political subdivision thereof in establishing or continuing a quiet zone pursuant to part 222 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations.
‘‘(b) MAXIMUM GRANT AMOUNT UNDER SECTION 22501(2).—No grant awarded under section 22501(2) may exceed $250,000.
‘‘§ 22505. Authorization of appropriations
‘‘There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $1,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2013 to carry out the provisions of section 22501(1) of this chapter. There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $1,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2013 to carry out the provisions of section 22501(2) of this chapter. Amounts appropriated pursuant to this section shall remain available until expended.’’.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—The subtitle analysis for subtitle V is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 223 the following:
‘‘225. Federal grants to States for highway-rail grade crossing safety ..............22501’’.

SEC. 208. TRESPASSER PREVENTION AND HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING SAFETY.[edit]

(a) TRESPASSER PREVENTION AND HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING WARNING SIGN VIOLATIONS.—Section 20151 is amended—
(1) by striking the section heading and inserting the following:
‘‘§ 20151. Railroad trespassing, vandalism, and highway-rail grade crossing warning sign violation prevention strategy’’;
(2) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:
‘‘(a) EVALUATION OF EXISTING LAWS.—In consultation with affected parties, the Secretary of Transportation shall evaluate and review current local, State, and Federal laws regarding trespassing on railroad property, vandalism affecting railroad safety, and violations of highway-rail grade crossing signs, signals, markings, or other warning devices and develop model prevention strategies and enforcement laws to be used for the consideration of State and local legislatures and governmental entities. The first such evaluation and review shall be completed within 1 year after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The Secretary shall revise the model prevention strategies and enforcement codes periodically.’’;
(3) by inserting ‘‘FOR TRESPASSING AND VANDALISM PREVENTION’’ in the subsection heading of subsection (b) after ‘‘OUTREACH PROGRAM’’;
(4) in subsection (c)—
(A) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively;
(B) by inserting ‘‘(1)’’ after ‘‘MODEL LEGISLATION.—’’; and
(C) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
‘‘(2) Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the Secretary, after consultation with State and local governments and railroad carriers, shall develop and make available to State and local governments model State legislation providing for civil or criminal penalties, or both, for violations of highway-rail grade crossing signs, signals, markings, or other warning devices.’’; and
(5) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘‘(d) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term ‘violation of highway-rail grade crossing signs, signals, markings, or other warning devices’ includes any action by a motorist, unless directed by an authorized safety officer—
‘‘(1) to drive around a grade crossing gate in a position intended to block passage over railroad tracks;
‘‘(2) to drive through a flashing grade crossing signal;
‘‘(3) to drive through a grade crossing with passive warning signs without ensuring that the grade crossing could be safely crossed before any train arrived; and
‘‘(4) in the vicinity of a grade crossing, who creates a hazard of an accident involving injury or property damage at the grade crossing.’’.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—The chapter analysis for chapter 201 is amended by striking the item relating to section 20151 and inserting the following:
‘‘20151. Railroad trespassing, vandalism, and highway-rail grade crossing warning sign violation prevention strategy.’’.
(c) EDUCATIONAL OR AWARENESS PROGRAM ITEMS FOR DISTRIBUTION.—Section 20134(a) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘The Secretary may purchase items of nominal value and distribute them to the public without charge as part of an educational or awareness program to accomplish the purposes of this section and of any other sections of this title related to improving the safety of highway-rail crossings and to preventing trespass on railroad rights of way, and the Secretary shall prescribe guidelines for the administration of this authority.’’.

SEC. 209. ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT REPORTING.[edit]

The Federal Railroad Administration shall conduct an audit of each Class I railroad at least once every 2 years and conduct an audit of each non-Class I railroad at least once every 5 years to ensure that all grade crossing collisions and fatalities are reported to any Federal national accident database.