BILL NO A07691
SAME AS SAME AS S05765
Amd SS89, 90, 91, 97, 97-a & 81, rpld SS51, 57, 57-a, 58 - 60, 71 - 74, 76, 77,
80 & 82, Rail L
Relates to public hearings and repeals certain obsolete provisions to the
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the railroad law, in relation to
public hearings and to repeal certain provisions of such law, relating
to the weight of rail, rates of fare, excess charges and penalties,
mileage books, duties imposed, inspections, inspectors, care of steam
locomotives, use of furnaces, equipment of engines, couplers and
Purpose of the Bill: This proposal would authorize the Commissioner
of Transportation (Commissioner) to solicit comments from the public
in cases involving the creation, alteration or modification of
railroad crossings and would repeal certain provisions of the Railroad
Law that are preempted by federal law and regulations. If requested,
however, a hearing would still be required.
Summary of Provisions:
Sections 1 through 5 would amend Railroad Law S 89, 90, 91, 97, and
97-a, respectively, to authorize the Commissioner to solicit comments
from interested parties in addition to conducting a public hearing in
certain circumstances when the Commissioner deems one to be
appropriate or a hearing is requested by the petitioner, the railroad,
or a municipality.
Section 6 would repeal Railroad Law S 51 which is preempted by 49 CFR
Sections 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 would repeal Railroad Law SS 57, 57-a, 58,
59 and 60 respectively, which are preempted by 49 USC SS 10501 and
Sections 12 would repeal Railroad Law SS 71, 72 and 73 which are
preempted by 49 CFR Part 230, Part 229, and Parts 212, 229 and 230.
Section 13 would repeal Railroad Law S 72 which is preempted by 49 CFR
Section 14 would repeal Railroad Law S 73 which is preempted by 49 CFR
Part 212, Part 229. and Part 230.
Section 15 would repeal Railroad Law SS 74 and 76 which are preempted
by 49 CFR Part 230, and 49 CFR Parts 230 and 238, respectively.
Section 17 would repeal Railroad Law S 77 which is preempted by 49 CFR
Part 229, Part 230 and Part 232.
Section 18 would repeal Railroad Law S 80 which is preempted by 49 CFR
Part 215. Section 19 would repeal Railroad Law S 82 which is preempted
by 49 CFR Part 213.
Section 20 would amend Railroad Law S 81 to eliminate references to
sections of the Railroad Law repealed by this bill.
Section 21 provides for an immediate effective date.
Existing Law: The Railroad Law requires the Commissioner to conduct a
public hearing for every case in which a railroad crossing is being
created, altered or closed. It also contains provisions that are no
longer relevant or have been preempted by federal law and regulations.
Prior Legislative History: This is a new proposal.
Statement in Support: Conducting a public hearing in every instance
in connection with a railroad crossing is a time-consuming process
that may unduly delay the construction of a project beneficial to a
community. Moreover, there are equally effective ways in which to
solicit public input. For example, holding a public hearing generally
results in a delay of between 60 and 90 days while waiting for a
transcript to be prepared and reviewed. Hearings are also costly for
the Department of Transportation ("DOT"), the railroad, and the
proponent of a project. This bill would give the Commissioner the
discretion to solicit written comments in addition to or instead of a
holding a public hearing. But if the petitioner, the railroad, or the
municipality in which a crossing is located requests a hearing, the
Commissioner would have to conduct a public hearing.
The repeal of sections of the Railroad Law that axe preempted by
federal law eliminates unnecessary and conflicting provisions for the
benefit of regulated parties.
Budget Implications: This bill is expected to save the Department
several thousand dollars per year in staff time and expenses.
Local Impact: None.
Effective Date: This act shall take effect immediately.