Monday, November 2, 2015

STA Amendments to be Considered by Rules Committee

The House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow to look at what amendments may be considered during the floor debate on a surface transportation authorization bill. The Committee web site lists 182 proposed amendments to HR 3763 and another 88 amendments to the ‘non-transportation provisions’ of HR 22 that have been submitted. The Committee will winnow that down to some manageable number (my guess is in the neighborhood of 20) that will actually be allowed to be offered in the floor debate.

Of those 270 amendments, only nine [corrected from 'seven' 11-05-15 7:19 pm CST] may be of specific interest to readers of this blog. Those amendments will fall in the general categories of HAZMAT, Train Safety, Pipeline Safety, and Cybersecurity.

HAZMAT Amendments

Amendment #13 would require the Secretary to consult with States about States specific safety hazards and concerns that should be taken into account in developing railroad comprehensive oil spill response plans.

Amendment #44 would require the Secretary to initiate a study on the levels and structure of insurance for a railroad carrier transporting hazardous materials. The study would be required to address the potential applicability of the liability regimes described in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and the Public Health Service Act. Requires the obligatory report to Congress.

Train Safety Amendments

Amendment #64 would require the Secretary to submit a report to Congress on using a system that measures Vertical Track Deflection (VTD) from a moving railcar to identify poor track support from fouled ballast, deteriorated cross ties, or other conditions.

Amendment #80 would authorize the use of $270 Million for grants to railroads for PTC implementation.

Amendment #107 would require the Secretary to revise the standard for DOT 117R cars to include protection for top fittings and pressure relief vavles.

Pipeline Safety Amendments

Amendment #159 provides for State or tribal governments to request additional DOT safety reviews of pipeline transportation infrastructure projects.

Cybersecurity Amendments

Amendment #38 would establish an Automated and Connected Vehicle Research Initiative to lay the foundation for the broad scale adoption of automated vehicle technology. There is one very brief mention of cybersecurity in the lengthy amendment. Section XX(d)(2)(H) would require that “cyber-physical security” would be one of the items considered in deployment guidance developed by the Initiative.

Amendment #140 would require the Secretary to report to Congress on the use of IOT to improve transportation services in rural, suburban, and urban areas, including systems that meet the needs of an aging population. It includes a requirement to report on current best practices to protect privacy and security.

Amendment #169 would require the Secretary to report to congress on the end-to-end cybersecurity of motor vehicles that integrate computer technology that is sourced by a supply chain not directly controlled by the manufacturer. It includes a specific requirement to consider the use of NIST standards for securing computer systems and with respect to failsafe systems.

Moving Forward

Bases upon past practices it is quite likely that none of these seven amendments will make their way into this bill (probably considered under the number HR 22). None of these amendments would face substantial opposition on the floor.

Rule Published this evening calls for 29 Amendments to be considered; 7 Republican, 9 Democrat, 13 Bipartisan. Which ones will be determined tomorrow. Added 11-02-15 23:05 CST.

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