Monday, August 3, 2009

HR 3410 Introduced

Last week on July 30th Representative Melissa Bean (D,IL) introduced HR 3410, The Taking Responsible Action for Community Safety (TRACS) Act. According to a press release from Congresswoman Bean’s office the act would require the “Surface Transportation Board to consider the effects of rail expansion on local communities and taxpayers as part of its core mission”. The bill would expand the requirements of 49 USC 11324 to include STB hearings on ‘consolidation, merger and acquisition of control’ issues that involved at least one Class I railroad instead of the current 2 Class I railroads. It would also expand the items that would have to be taken into account when approving such actions to a variety of issues affecting local communities. One of those issues would be of particular interest to the chemical security community; the issue of “hazardous materials transportation safety” {§11324(b)(6)}. This same bill was introduced last year by Chairman (House Transportation Committee) Oberstar (coincidentally on July 31st) as HR 6707. It looks like Congresswoman Bean (who was a co-sponsor last year) copied and pasted the entire contents of HR 6707 into the submission for this bill. You can tell by the final section of the bill which would make the bill, if passed, retroactive to any action not completed by the STB on August 1, 2008. One would assume that should read 08-01-09 or later. The bill was reported favorably by committee last year, but was not agreed to by the House when it was brought up under suspension of the rules on September 27th. The recorded vote (243-175) would have been sufficient to pass the bill if it had been brought up in regular order, but that did not happen because of the election shortened session. If the bill makes it to the floor this year it would seem likely to pass if not considered under suspension of the rules; which requires 2/3rd vote to pass.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */