November 21, 2014

Public transportation trips rise in second quarter

More than 2.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the second quarter of 2014, according to a report released Sept. 29 by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This is a 1.1 percent increase over the same quarter last year, representing an increase of 30 million more trips. Public transportation ridership outpaced [...]

End of line for railroad conductors? Not so fast

WASHINGTON — How many people does it take to safely operate a freight train? Two, say railroad labor unions, the Federal Railroad Administration and some members of Congress, arguing that having just one person in the cab of a locomotive was unsafe. They cite a series of deadly accidents involving trains with a solo engineer, [...]

104-year-old bridge presents $900M problem

It carries more passenger trains than any other railroad bridge in the Western Hemisphere, yet few people beyond those who rely on it have heard of it. It goes largely unnoticed, unless something goes wrong, which happens with irritating frequency. After all, the bridge is 104 years old. Every time it swings open to let [...]

NTSB examines recent surge in rail worker deaths

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WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board Sept. 24 issued a special investigation report on the recent increase in deaths of railroad and rail transit roadway workers on or near tracks and made recommendations to reduce the number of fatalities. The Special Investigation Report on Railroad and Rail Transit Roadway Worker Protection provides details of [...]

N.Y. MTA proposes $32 billion in capital investments

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday (Sept. 23) published a proposed $32 billion, four-year capital program designed to invest in safety and reliability measures for its subways, commuter railroads, buses, bridges and tunnels. Proposed for 2015 through 2019, the program would “renew, enhance and expand” the MTA network, which moves 8.7 million riders each day, authority [...]

RRB unemployment, sickness benefits to decrease

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Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will reduce railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits by 7.3 percent, up from the current 7.2 percent reduction, due to federal budget cuts first implemented in March 2013. The adjusted reduction amount is based on revised projections of benefit claims and payments under the Railroad [...]

Senate panel approves freight rail oversight changes

The Senate committee that deals with transportation issues approved a bill to beef up the panel of federal regulators that is supposed to oversee operations on the nation’s freight and passenger railways. The measure, which was approved unanimously on Wednesday by the Senate Commerce Committee, emboldens the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board (STB) to [...]

House panel approves Amtrak budget cut

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A bill that would cut Amtrak’s authorization for new construction spending by 40 percent was unanimously approved Wednesday by the House Transportation Committee. The measure, which was passed on a voice vote with little debate, would reduce Amtrak’s authorized spending level for new construction from approximately $1.3 billion per year under the last Amtrak funding [...]

OSHA announces new injury-reporting requirements

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping [...]

Nevada truck firm could pay $5.5M+ in Amtrak crash

RENO, Nev. – A Nevada trucking company could be forced to pay more than $5.7 million if a judge formalizes a jury verdict that faulted one of its drivers for a fiery 2011 crash with an Amtrak train that killed six people and injured dozens. A federal jury in Reno awarded $4.5 million to Amtrak [...]