« PrécédentContinuer »
Secretary Boyd. We tried to track the existing penalties in the railroad field. That gave us the $250 minimum.
Mr. Brown. You see no relationship between penalties in the railroad field and penalties in the natural gas pipeline area?
Secretary Boyd. I don't think we would object but we don't see any reason to do it.
Mr. Brown. You don't object to what?
Secretary Boyd. You have got a daily fee in the Senate version of the gas pipeline of $1,000 and you have the variation in this one between $250 and $1,000.
Mr. Brown. Those are for each violation as I understand. Does this imply a daily charge of $1,000?
Secretary Boyd. If the violation is a continuing one and I read from line 4, "Each day of such violation shall constitute a separate offense.” Also in both bills there is a provision for compromise authority.
Mr. Brown. One other area of comparison.
What about the methods of financing the operation of railroad safety in the Department? In the Senate version of the gas pipeline safety legislation there was a provision whereby the Department would finance the operation of the inspection of gas pipelines through a direct assessment on the industry. I noticed that that is not included in the railway safety legislation.
Secretary Boyd. I will have to review that and ascertain whether or not this was something the administration sought or something the Senate put in the pipeline bill. I can't answer that at the moment.
Mr. Brown. I have no further questions.
I don't want to intrude on Mr. Skubitz' time but I would like to ask about the licensing of employees. I am still unsure whether you do or do not intend to license employees of the railroad under provisions similar to the licensing provisions which are provided in the aviation industry.
Secretary Boyd. The answer is "no," we do not.
Mr. Brown. Then that is in conflict with the testimony given by Mr. Lang.
Secretary Boyd. That is not in conflict with the testimony given by Mr. Lang.
Mr. Brown. If I may, Mr. Secretary, let me read my question to Mr. Lang:
I have a couple of other questions relating to the Department of Transportation employees and the railroads. If this bill should be passed in its present form, does the Department anticipate the licensing of railroad employees in the same nature that they are licensed in the aviation industry?"
Mr. Lang responded: We anticipate that this might be desirable for selected classes of employees and selected kinds of work.
We went on to explore this with this exchange. Mr. Brown. What kinds of employees do you have in mind, engineers or brakemen or inspectors of rights-of-way?
Mr. LANG. All of those. Those are precisely the categories in which this might prove to be desirable. - Mr. Brown. Porters? Mr. LANG. No, sir, I cannot imagine that. Mr. Brown. Inspectors of equipment? Mr. LANG. Very definitely.
Mr. Brown. In other words, if this bill is passed, all these people would be licensed under some kind of Federal regulation?
Mr. LANG. No, sir, that does not necessarily follow. If in our study of these matters and as a result of rule making procedures it developed that it was desirable to issue certificates to certain classes of employees, then we might. And these would be the prime possibilities in that regard, the ones you mentioned.
Secretary Boyd. I think Mr. Lang clarified his testimony last week. you may not have been here.
Mr. Brown. I may not have been, but I wasn't aware that I had missed any of the hearings. Would you want to clarify it again, Mr. Lang, or am I reading it incorrectly?
Mr. LANG. No, sir. You were here, Mr. Brown, when I said last week that I thought on reviewing that record myself, not only that section which you just read but a couple of other sections of the record in connection with the first day's hearings, that my testimony on this question was less than clear. We tried to clear it up last week.
Again I would reiterate here that our present intention is not to "license” employees such as engineers or brakemen. Our intentions with respect to those classes of employees, and only where it is shown to be necessary in the interest of safety, would be in establishing minimum qualifications that they would be required to meet in order to perform this kind of work. Of course the Secretary discussed this matter earlier this morning. The kind of think we do have in mind as a possibility is certifying employees who would in effect be carrying out the specific requirements established under regulations issued in accordance with this authority to be conferred in this legislation. These would be men such as locomotive or equipment inspectors or track inspectors.
Mr. Brown. Thank you very much.
Mr. Boyd, two things always happen to the low man on the totem pole. One, all the questions he had to ask have been asked and, two, you always run out of time.
I note that a substantial number of train accidents occur at grade crossings.
Does this bill give you authority to make changes at grade crossings if you so deem it necessary?
Secretary Boyd. No, sir. Well, I should say literally "Yes," although it is one of the exempted provisions in section 4 beginning at line 19. I should say furthermore that the business of grade crossing safety is something that affects the highway operation to the same or greater extent than it affects the rail operation and for the past 7 or 8 months we have had a task force operating in the Department comprised of members from the Federal Railway Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, State highway officials, the Association of American Railroads, and possibly some others, to try to work on the whole issue of railroad crossing safety or grade crossing safety.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Since a substantial number of accidents happen at grade crossings would you have the authority under this act to determine whether the railroads should build an overpass or an underpass?
Secretary Boyd. No; I don't think so. Our intent has certainly been to reserve that to the States.
Mr. SKUBITZ. The bill says the States may do those things. It doesn't say they shall ?
Secretary Boyd. I don't think there is any way that we can force · the construction of an elevated structure over a railroad.
Mr. SKUBITZ. If you deem it is necessary from the standpoint of sa fety why can't you? You can regulate the design of a car, modify a : car, or direct the weight of rails.
Secretary Boyd. Well, it just hasn't occurred to us that that power would be involved in this legislation. I think it is more likely that what we could do if it became necessary would be to require the closing of a grade crossing.
Mr. SKUBITZ. The reason I raise the question is that in my home in Pittsburg it gets rather irritating sometimes to sit at 10th Street for 20 minutes and wait for a train to go by. As a citizen I have often thought of writing my Senator and demanding that he introduce legislation requiring the railroads to build an overpass.
Secretary Boyd. That is authority which we are not seeking and we don't think is involved in this legislation..
Mr. BROWN. Would the gentleman yield ? i Mr. SKUBITZ. Yes.
Mr. BROWN. Are you suggesting that you abandon the State road or county road because of the interstate nature of the railroad and the noninterstate nature, if I may, of the local road?
Secretary Boyd. I just took a possible example off the top of my head to show the direction which I thought, if there was regulatory authority in this area, that regulatory authority might go. I have no idea that we could do that. I tried to give an example that we wouldn't have the authority to force the construction of a grade separation structure.
I will limit my answer to that and not try to give any other example. Mr. SKUBITZ. I have another question.
If the Department of Transportation deemed that these long trains were dangerous from the standpoint of safety, under this bill would you have the authority to say, "Well, you can't have a train with over 50 cars on it or 100," or could you say to them, “You have to have more men on the train," more brakemen, more engineers or more of anything else?
Secretary Boyd. Yes, sir.
Mr. Brown. May I ask a question on that because this cuts to one of the questions I had asked. You said earlier, Mr. Secretary, that you wouldn't set standards.
Mr. FRIEDEL. Have you yielded, Mr. Skubitz?
Mr. Brown. You said earlier that if a train crew agreement between labor and management was beyond that which the Department of Transportation deemed necessary for safety you would not be involved in the contract between labor and management in that regard.
But it occurs to me, if you said that a crew in the interest of safety only required a number of personnel, however labor would like to have a few more personnel on that train, management is going to hold out for the minimum number which the Department of Transportation indicates is a safe number by which that train should be operated.
Secretary Boyd. I would fully expect them to do that.
Mr. Brown. It occurs to me then that, whether or not you are directly involved in the negotiations, it would be a rather definite involvement in the power of persuasion of the Department in setting the safety standards.
Secretary Boyd. There is no question about it, Mr. Brown, none at all, and I would certainly expect management to rely on that. How successful they would be is something else because we have the identical situation in the airline industry and the crews are larger in many cases than the FAA regulations require.
We have the same identical situation in the merchant marine and, God knows, we have got more seamen on these ships than the Coast Guard ever thought was necessary.
Mr. Brown. In view of the fact that many of our labor difficulties in the railroad industry seem to wind up at some Federal level for negotiation, arbitration or in fact settlement by law, it seems to me that the Department of Transportation is taking a big step in the Railway Labor Union organization.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I agree with Mr. Brown in his last statement, Mr. Boyd. It seems to me that wages and hours and working conditions have always been a matter for collective bargaining. It looks to me like you fellows are getting yourselves in a spot when you attempt to take over matters which should be negotiated through collective bargaining.
Secretary Boyd. I would just like to refer both of you gentlemen to the fact that the airlines in the country are operating under the identical legislation.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Let's take hours of employment for example.
Suppose that you should determine that no man, from a safety standpoint, should work over 7 hours.
Secretary Boyd. The hours of service is specifically excluded from this legislation.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Where is it excluded ?
Secretary Boyd. Well, I shouldn't say that. It is not included and there is a law passed by the Congress.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I can't think of anything that affects safety any more than the number of hours that a man works. A man driving a truck for 14 hours is liable to go to sleep. An engineer is liable to do the same thing on a train.
Secretary Boyd. Let me say this: if the committee in its wisdom wants to put the hours-of-service law in this bill that is its business, but it is not in the bill now.
Mr. SKUBITZ. You wouldn't accuse us of gutting the bill if we did something like that; is this correct?
Secretary Boyd. No, sir. We don't do that.
Mr. SKUBITZ. There is one other point that sort of intrigued me. Mr. Boyd. In Mr. Lang's statement relating to inspection, he said this: "Perhaps most important of all in the field of inspection would be the design of passenger cars."
Is this correct, Mr. Lang?
Mr. SKUBITZ. This confuses me because during the past few years we have seen the passenger train going completely out of business. In the year 1967 hundreds of actions were brought under 13(a). Doesn't the discontinuance of that passenger service throughout the country disturb you?
Secretary Boyd. Well, that is getting off on another subject.
Mr. SKUBITZ. It sure is, but you are talking about inspection of passenger cars. Mr. Lang says that priority should be given to the design of passenger cars.
Secretary Boyd. Let me answer you this way.
We are now working on a train operation, two train operations between Washington and New York and New York and Boston which we hope will
Mr. SKUBITZ. That doesn't interest me at all. There is one from Kansas City down to New Orleans that does. In every one of the passenger service discontinuances, the railroads have argued it was necessary because of the loss of mail contracts. Were you interested enough to discuss this matter with Mr. O'Brien?
Secretary Boyd. Mr. O'Brien and I had a number of conversations on this.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Well he must have won out. I think in the next 10 or 15 years we are going to be forced to build a lot of rail beds, subsidize train and car production, because the Department of Transportation has not had enough vision to intercede in some of these discontinuance requests.
Secretary Boyd. Now, Mr. Skubitz, I just have to refer you to the Department of Transportation legislation. We are a creature of statute and that statute does not give us any authority, any responsibility, or any powers in connection with railroad passenger train discontinuances. I do not want to accept the blame for something
Mr. SKUBITZ. All right then, Mr. Boyd.
Secretary Boyd. The Congress has historically authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission to act in this area and we have no desire to take away any of the power the Interstate Commerce Commission
Nr. SKUBITZ. Well, I have lost a lot of respect and confidence in the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. Brown. Would you yield!