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chaired by the Federal Railroad Administrator with the remaining members appointed by the Secretary to represent the State agencies, railroad management, and labor.
The act specifically provides three from labor, three from industry, and three from public utility commissions in the various States of the Union.
In conclusion, we believe the public interest will best be served by the Federal and State governments joining together in a strong effort to attack the problems of rail safety. Such an effort will revitalize intergovernmental relationships and will result in comprehensive safety regulation with a minimum expenditure of Federal funds. We believe implementation of our proposal will achieve this beneficial goal.
President Johnson in his state of the Union address of last vear announced his objective of achieving a “total working partnership” between Federal and State Governments.
We look forward to fulfilling our responsibilities in this relationship. Now, that concludes my formal statement.
You have a copy of the rules. I believe that we have left 100 copies for your use.
In addition to that, I have two copies, that I would like to give the reporter, of the record of accidents involving the facilities or operations of transportation and service utilities and contract carriers which is prepared every year by our Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. A large part of that report is devoted to railroads and there is a very, very interesting report upon the accidents that occur in Pennsylvania.
They are broken down as to employees that are injured, they are broken down as to passengers that are injured, nonemployees, trespassers, accidents that are occurring through equipment; those that occur at grade crossings. They are broken down as to how many occurred in each month; they are broken down as to the hours of the day in which they occurred during the year to determine what hours they happen, to see if that give us any information. There is a lot of interesting material.
If the committee would like to have more copies, we would be glad to send down more copies of our annual report. We do not have the reports prepared for 1967; they are in the process. But we have the reports for many, many years going back to when they were first prepared.
I also would like to do this. All of our States have had the opportunity and have gone over the prepared statement that I have just read but we received two telegrams and a prepared statement from another commission and I would like to have permission to have them placed in the record.
One telegram is from the State corporation commission of Kansas and another telegram is from the California commission, and another is a statement from the Minnesota Public Service Commission.
I would like to have them made a part of the record.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., June 5, 1968. PAUL RODGERS, General Counsel, NARUC, Washington, D.C.:
Please put in record of hearings on H.R. 16980 and S. 3426 that California Public Utilities Commission has no position on bills at this time. Bills require comprehensive study by agencies involved. California commission will study.
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION,
TOPEKA, KANS., June 4, 1968. PAUL RODGERS, General Counsel, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners:
This commission is gravely concerned with the increasing number of train accidents and the inadequacy of our present statutes which restrict authority over freight and passenger cars to certain safety appliances. The Kansas Corporation Commission respectfully urges that we be allowed to participate in the forination of minimum rail safety standards to achieve maximum rail safety and strongly urge the passage of H.R. 16980.
DALE E. SAFFELS, Chairman, State Corporation Commission.
STATEMENT OF THE MINNESOTA STATE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION The Bill before the 90th Congress, Senate File 3426 and companion Bill in the House, is attempting to rest the Secretary of Transportation with authority over many things that presently the Minnesota Public Service Commission has state authority to do.
Section 219.031, Subdivision 2, Paragraph 4, M.S. provides that every common carrier operating in the State of Minnesota shall: (4) submit a report of all accidents, wrecks and casualties occurring in the state in such manner and form and at such times as prescribed by the Commission. All reports shall be open to public inspection but shall not be admissable in evidence in any suit or action for damages, growing out of such accident, wreck or casualty. Under this section of law the Commission requires the railroads to report all accidents by telephone or telegraph within 24 hours of its occurrence and requires a typewritten report of the accident within 48 hours.
Under various sections of Chapter 219, M.S., the Legislature has vested with the Commission exclusive jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to highway crossings, whether at grade or by separation, including the allocation of costs of the installation of grade separations, the authority to allocate the cost of highway railroad grade crossing signal protection, authority to authorize the establishment of new crossings, authority to relocate crossings, authority to order the closing of existing crossings, the authority to order the reconstruction of separations that may be found unsafe or inadequate. Under this authority the Commission has established standards for signal protection to be provided at highway railroad grade crossings, including standards of circuit controls for such automatic protection as may be ordered installed by the Commission.
In regard to Clearances: Section 219.46, M.S. establishes the vertical and lateral clearances that shall be maintained alongside of and over trackage operated on by trainmen in the State of Minnesota. This governs the installation of permanent structures as well as temporary encroachments or obstructions. Section 219.46 established the centers at which tracks may be constructed and maintained. The statute definitely sets by feet and inches the clearances. It authorizes the Commission to grant exemptions to the clearance requirements where such exemptions will not materially increase the hazard to trainmen required to operate over the tracks past such encroachments as may be authorized.
Chapter 219 M.S. authorizes the Commission to regulate or establish standards of crossing construction, including type of crossing, the grade of the road over the crossing, the crossing signs to be installed at the crossing and the type of protection to be installed in the event additional protection is deemed necessary.
Section 219.56 M.S. establishes the standards to which cabooses shall be
constructed and gives to the Commission the jurisdiction necessary to enforce the section.
Chapter 219, M.S., invests in the Commission the authority to authorize or deny the carrier's request for authority to abandon side tracks, yard tracks, industry tracks or all such tracks that are opened to the public use and offered to the public.
The abandonment of loading platforms and station facilities must be approved by the Commission under Chapter 219, M.S.
Section 219.40 provides among other things that no road may be laid out so as to cross a railroad at grade without first obtaining the approval of the Public Service Commission.
Section 219.383 M.S. authorizes the Commission to establish the rate of speed at which trains and engines may be operated over highway railroad grade crossings in cities or villages.
The jurisdiction of the Commission in regard to matters pertaining to highway railroad grade crossings, the speed of trains and the blocking of crossings, has been held by the Supreme Court of the State as being supreme and superior to any ordinance to the contrary that may be adopted by any village, city or municipality.
The above enumeration is not intended as being all inclusive. There are other provisions of the Minnesota Statutes regulating the railroads in Minnesota and empowering the Commission to enforce the statutes by rule. The regulation of railroads in Minnesota is primarily by statute which spell out the particular duties. Such regulation is not by rule under general powers given to the Public Service Commission. Thus, such statutory regulation is a direct mandate from the Legislature speaking for the people of Minnesota.
However, Section 218.041 M.S. confers upon the Commission the following duties:
“With respect to all common carriers under this chapter, the Commission shall investigate the management thereof, the manner in which their businesses are conducted, and the adequacy of the services they are affording the public; prescribe uniform systems of keeping and rendering accounts and the time within which such systems shall be adopted; direct the repair and reconstruction or replacement of any inadequate or unsafe trackage, structure or facility; and make all appropriate orders relating to continuation, termination, modification or extension of services and facilities with a view to properly promoting the security and convenience of the public."
Through the years the Public Service Commission has enforced these statutory requirements to the best of its ability, and fairly. The Public Service Commission thinks that the situation is under control and the various governmental agencies in Minnesota, such as counties, cities and villages, have become familiar with the law and the rules; and the Commission thinks that the safety of the people is adequately covered by such statutory provisions,-coupled with the existing federal regulatory statutes imbedded in the Interstate Commerce Act.
The Public Service Commission is opposed to the transfer of these parochial and local matters to the national government. The Public Service Commission feels that it has adequately protected the safety of the people of Minnesota, If occasion arises for the implementation of these statutes because of changing conditions, the Legislature of the State of Minnesota is available to meet the problems. The last sessions of the Legislature had many instances of such implementation for the protection and safety of the people. The Commission, likewise, is not unaware of the safety problems. Therefore, this Commission recommends that the pending legislation before the Senate and House do not pass.
Mr. Bloom. I want to thank you very much for the opportunity of presenting this statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The appendix that you have here will be made a part of the record. (The document referred to follows:)
NARUC PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO H.R. 16980, PROPOSING THE FEDERAL
RAILROAD SAFETY ACT OF 1968 Section 2 is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof the following: (10) "State" means each of the several States and the District of Columbia.
(11) "State agency” means the State department, commission, agency, officer or official which is authorized by State law to engage in the regulation of the safety of railroad operations. When State law divides performance of such regulatory functions among two or more State units of government, each unit shall be deemed to be a part of the "State agency."
Section 4 is hereby stricken and the following provision is inserted in lieu thereof:
FEDERAL-STATE COOPERATION Sec. 4. (a) It is the policy of the Congress to promote safety in rail commerce, and to assist in efforts by State agencies to accomplish this objective. The following provisions are intended to further this policy.
(b) Each State agency is authorized to establish and conduct a program for safety in rail commerce which is designed to reduce rail accidents, and deaths, injuries and property damage resulting therefrom. Such a program shall be compatible with the minimum standards prescribed by the Secretary pursuant to Section 3 of this Act. To the extent permitted by the jurisdiction of the State agency, the program shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for: (1) safety standards applicable to trackage, roadbed and other stationary structures, rolling stock and other rail facilities and equipment; (2) vertical and horizontal clearance requirements; (3) grade crossing protection, including safety devices, grade separation, location of new crossings, closing of existing crossings, and rules governing train blocking of crossings; (4) speed limits and audible signals of trains; (5) weed and vegetation control; (6) railroad operating rules and practices; (7) systematic recording of accidents, including deaths and serious injuries resulting therefrom; (8) accident investigations to determine the probable causes of accidents; (9) inspections and tests to determine compliance with Federal and State safety standards; (10) reporting of alleged violations of Federal safety standards to the Secretary or his designees; and (11) enforcement of State safety standards.
(c) No State law or regulation affecting safety in rail commerce, now or hereafter adopted, shall be nullified by this Act unless it is in conflict with a standard prescribed by the Secretary under this Act.
(d) In a matter governed by a Federal standard, a State agency, upon giving the Secretary at least ninety days advance notice, may adopt a more stringent standard if such State standard is reasonable, does not constitute an undue burden on interstate commerce, and is required by the public interest. The Secretary, upon complaint by an aggrieved party or upon his own motion, and after notice and opportunity for a hearing, may suspend any such proposed State standard or nullify the standard if it has become effective, if he finds the standard to be unreasonable, an undue burden on interstate commerce, or not required by the public interest.
(e) (1) Upon an application submitted not later than September 30 in any calendar year, the Secretary shall pay out of available funds up to 50 per centum of the cost of the personnel, equipment and activities of a State agency reasonably required to carry out a State program for safety in rail commerce under subsection (b) of this section during the following calendar year if such program is found by the Secretary to be in the public interest. No such payment may be made unless the State agency making application under this subsection gives assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that the State agency will provide the remaining cost of such a safety program and that the aggregate expenditures of funds of the State, exclusive of Federal grants, for the safety program will be maintained at a level which does not fall below the average level of such expenditures for the last two fiscal years preceding the date of enactment of this section. Federal funds shall be allocated on an equitable basis among the State agencies whose programs are approved by the Secretary under this subsection.
(2) Upon application by the national organization of the State commissions, as referred to in section 205(f) of the Interstate Commerce Act, the Secretary shall pay out of available funds the sum of $20,000, plus such additional sums as he deems justified, to such national organization to pay the reasonable cost of coordinating the activities of the State agencies among themselves and with the Secretary under this Act, and assisting them in the establishment and conduct of safety programs, and rendering technical assistance to such agencies in other regulatory matters,
(3) Payments under this section may be made in installments, in advance or by way of reimbursement, with necessary adjustments on account of overpayments and underpayments.
(4) The Secretary may, by regulation, provide for the form and manner of filing of applications under this section, and for such reporting and fiscal procedures as he deems necessary to assure the proper accounting for Federal funds.
(f) The Secretary is authorized to cooperate with State agencies in strengthening their rail safety programs by providing technical advice, assistance and information. The Secretary may develop training programs for State personnel engaged in carrying out the provisions of this Act.
(g) A State agency, upon timely application, shall have an unconditional right to intervene as a party in proceedings before the Department arising under this Act.
NATIONAL RAILROAD SAFETY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Sec. 4.1. (a) There is established in the Department of Transportation a Na. tional Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, composed of the Federal Railroad Administrator, who shall be chairman, and nine members appointed by the Secretary as follows:
(1) Three members shall be selected from State agencies after consultation with representatives of the national organization of the State commissions, as referred to in section 205 (f) of the Interstate Commerce Act;
(2) Three members shall be selected from the management of rail carriers after consultation with management representatives; and
(3) Three members shall be selected from labor unions involved in rail commerce after consultation with union representatives. (b) The appointed members of the Committee may be compensated at a rate to be fixed by the Secretary not to exceed $100 per diem (including travel time) when engaged in the actual duties of the Committee. All such members, while away from their homes or regular places of business, may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, for persons in the Government service employed intermittently. Payments under this section shall not render such members of the Committee employees or officials of the United States for any purpose.
(c) The National Railroad Safety Advisory Committee shall advise, consult with, and make recommendations to, the Secretary on matters relating to the activities and functions of the Department in the field of railroad safety. The Committee is authorized : (1) to review research projects or programs submitted to or recommended by it in the field of railroad safety and recommend to the Secretary, for prosecution under this Act, any such projects which it believes show promise of making valuable contributions to human knowledge with respect to the cause and prevention of railroad accidents; and (2) to review, prior to issuance, standards proposed to be issued by the Secretary under the provisions of this Act and to make recommendations thereon. Such recommendations shall be published in connection with the Secretary's determination.
(d) The National Railroad Safety Advisory Committee shall meet from time to time upon call of the Chairman or five of its members.
(e) The Secretary shall provide to the National Railroad Safety Advisory Committee from among the personnel and facilities of the Department such staff and facilities as are necessary to carry out the functions of such Committee.
The CHAIRMAX. The other two pieces that you have brought there will be looked over and, if appropriate, they will be in the record; if not, they will be in the file if they are repetitious or if they don't involve pertinent material.
(The material referred to has been placed in committee files.)
The CHAIRMAN. I want to especially thank you, Mr. Bloom, for giving us this report. I want to compliment you on the work that you and the commission are doing in Pennsylvania.
I think if every State were doing this there would be no need for this legislation—if every State was doing their job as you appear to be by the evidence that you have given today.
Your whole presentation has been very interesting and certainly informative for the committee. There are many suggestions in there that I am sure we want to look at. So, I certainly want to thank you.